The DPP's Taipei mayoral nominee Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) gave a decent performance despite the odds stacked up against him, including his tough-to-beat opponent Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and a sluggish economy for which many blaming his party. Even more noteworthy is the crisis facing the DPP -- an emerging succession gap revealed by the process through which Lee became the DPP nominee.
\nWhile Lee may have lost the election, overall he did not come out empty handed. Not only did Ma fail to garner more than one million votes, which was allegedly the number of votes he was targeting, but his winning margin was smaller than anticipated by the numerous media polls.
\nMa and Lee respectively garnered around 870,000 and 470,000 votes, which rounded up to approximately 64 percent and 35 percent of the votes. These figures were roughly consistent with the DPP's own polls before the election. Lee's worst nightmare about getting only about 17 percent to 18 percent of the votes, as predicted by media polls, did not come true. Facing Ma, who is apparently able to miraculously penetrate ethnic and party lines, Lee at least managed to keep the traditional DPP supporters from drifting away.
\nEven more importantly, the process through which the mayoral nomination fell into Lee's lap has an entirely different impact for Lee personally and the DPP as a party. Lee was hand picked by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) as the Taipei mayoral nominee of the DPP when no one else was willing to stand against an extremely popular Mayor Ma. Poll after poll had consistently revealed that around 70 percent of the Taipei residents were satisfied with Ma's performance. While popular satisfaction with performance in office does not necessarily translate into votes, Ma nevertheless had a virtually guaranteed victory from the beginning.
\nUnder the circumstances, many DPP politicians who had previously indicated an intention to bid for the DPP's mayoral nomination, including lawmaker Sheng Fu-hsiung (
ILLUSTRATION: MOUNTAIN PEOPLE
Taking advantage of my Taipei Times editors’ forbearance, I thought I would go with a change of pace by offering a few observations on an interesting nature topic, the many varieties of snakes in Taiwan. I will be drawing on my experiences living in Taiwan five times, from my teenage years in Kaohsiung back in the early sixties, to my last assignment as American Institute in Taiwan Director in 2006-9. Taiwan, with its semitropical climate, is a perfect setting for serpents. Indeed, one might say serpents are an integral part of the island’s ecosystem. Taiwan is warm, humid, with lots of
China constantly seeks out ways to complain about perceived slights and provocations as pretexts for its own aggressive behavior. It is both victimization paranoia and a form of information warfare that keeps the West on the defensive. True to form, China objected even to the innocuous reference to Taiwan at April 16’s summit meeting between US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Neither leader’s prepared remarks even mentioned Taiwan, out of deference to the Japanese side. Biden’s opening statement was modest: “Prime Minister Suga and I affirmed our ironclad support for US-Japanese alliance and for our shared security.
Determined to keep a permanent grip on power, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) has abandoned former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping’s (鄧小平) dogma of “hiding our capacities and biding our time” along with the “peaceful development” line that prevailed under former Chinese presidents Jiang Zemin (江澤民) and Hu Jintao (胡錦濤). Instead, he is treading a “wolf warrior” path of diplomacy that resorts to coercion, debt entrapment and hostage-taking. Externally, Xi’s China has claimed that it would never seek hegemony, yet it challenges the free, rules-based international order wherever it can. While insisting that it will not export its ideology, it has
As the US’ mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign continues at a record pace, one question under debate is what the administration of US President Joe Biden should do with its extra doses — and especially where to send them. One country that should be at the top of a donation list is Taiwan, in recognition of the help that it provided to the US at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. After weeks of pressure, the Biden administration announced that it is now “looking at options to share American-made AstraZeneca vaccine doses.” By summer, it is clear that anyone in the