The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) won a resounding victory over the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in yesterday's local government elections, in a win attributed to voter unhappiness with the DPP's poor performance and entanglement in recent scandals.
The KMT won 14 out of 23 city and county constituencies, while the DPP -- which previously controlled 9 counties and cities -- won just six seats.
Among the constituencies that changed hands from the DPP to the KMT were the traditional pan-green strongholds of Taipei and Ilan Counties. The DPP also lost Chiayi City, long an anti-KMT sanctuary during the days of Martial Law and the dangwai democracy movement.
PHOTO: LIN CHIN-CHI, TAIPEI TIMES
"This is not a triumph for the KMT but for the Taiwanese people," KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said in a victory speech last night. "The DPP was not defeated by the KMT, but by itself."
Ma had said that he would resign if his party failed to get at least 11 candidates elected in the commissioner and mayoral polls.
Yesterday's vote was called a "three-in-one" election because it combined county commissioner and city mayor elections, county and city councilor elections and township chief elections.
PHOTO: LIN CHENG-KUN, TAIPEI TIMES
Although yesterday's elections were local government polls, the ruling and opposition parties considered the results crucial to gaining momentum ahead of the 2008 presidential election, raising the stakes in the contest.
In two key races, the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) Luo Wen-chia (
Although the KMT has often been criticized for its poor campaign strategy, analysts attributed the party's success to its relentless criticism of the government's poor record and tenacious pursuit of a recent string of scandals, including the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp (KRTC) scandal and the "vultures" insider-trading case.
DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who said that he would resign as chairman if Luo lost in Taipei County, or if the party failed to win at least 10 seats in the commissioner and mayoral polls, offered to resign last night.
Su said that his party accepted the election results, and he called on the public to continue to have faith in the DPP.
"The DPP has lost one election, but Taiwan cannot lose," Su said.
To express their regret over the defeat and accept responsibility for the outcome, Su, Presidential Office Secretary-General Yu Shyi-kun and Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) bowed to the public three times.
66 percent turnout
The DPP garnered about 3.7 million votes -- around 42 percent of the total, while the KMT received 4.5 million votes, or about 51 percent. The Central Election Commission estimated the turnout to be approximately 66 percent of registered voters.
The DPP held on to its southern strongholds of Pingtung County, Tainan City and county and Kaohsiung County, while the KMT took control in northern, central and eastern Taiwan.
Three remote counties on outlying islands remained loyal to the pan-blue camp, with Penghu, Kinmen County and Lienchiang County -- the official administrative title for the Matsu archipelago -- all firmly controlled by the pan-blue alliance. Kinmen County went to the New Party, while Lienchiang County went to the PFP and Penghu went to the KMT.
The People First Party (PFP) captured one district, while the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) came out of yesterday's vote empty-handed.
In northern Taiwan, the KMT seized control in six districts, including Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli counties as well as Hsinchu and Keelung Cities. The DPP captured none.
In central Taiwan, the KMT obtained six seats in Taichung, Changhua and Nantou counties and Taichung and Chiayi cities. The DPP captured Yunlin County and held on to Chiayi County.
Eastern Taiwan, which has long been controlled by the KMT, remained a pan-blue stronghold.
Hualien County went to the KMT, while a scandal-plagued former KMT member also won in Taitung County as an independent candidate.
Taitung Council Speaker Wu Chun-li (吳俊立) defeated two independent candidates to hold on to his seat. Wu, however, may be suspended from his post in accordance with the Law on Local Government Systems (地方制度法).
He was convicted of corruption by the High Court but has appealed the ruling. He has also been charged with vote-buying but is out on NT$1 million (US$29,800) bail.
WHEELING AND DEALING? Hou You-yi, Ko Wen-je, Eric Chu and Ma Ying-jeou are under investigation for allegedly offering bribes for the other side to drop out of the race Taipei prosecutors have started an investigation into allegations that four top politicians involved in attempts to form a “blue-white” presidential ticket have contravened election regulations. Listed as defendants are Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate and New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the KMT and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲). The case stemmed from judicial complaints filed last month with the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office alleging that the KMT (blue) and the TPP (white) had engaged in bribery by offering money or other enticements
ELIGIBLE FOR JANUARY: All presidential candidates and their running mates meet the requirements to run for office, and none hold dual citizenship, the CEC said Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Legislator and vice presidential candidate Cynthia Wu (吳欣盈) is working with the Central Election Commission (CEC) to resolve issues with her financial disclosure statement, a spokesman for the candidate said yesterday, after the commission published the statements of all three presidential candidates and their running mates, while confirming their eligibility to run in the Jan. 13 election. Wu’s office spokesman, Chen Yu-cheng (陳宥丞), said the candidate encountered unforeseen difficulties disclosing her husband’s finances due to being suddenly thrust into the campaign. She is also the first vice presidential nominee to have a foreign spouse, complicating the reporting of
GOOD NEWS: Although open civic spaces are shrinking in Asia-Pacific countries and territories, Taiwan’s openness is a positive sign, an expert said Taiwan remains the only country in Asia with an “open” civic space for the fifth consecutive year, the Civicus Monitor said in a report released yesterday. The People Power Under Attack 2023 report named Taiwan as one of only 37 open countries or territories out of 198 globally, and the only one in Asia. Compiled by Civicus — a global alliance of civil society organizations dedicated to bolstering civil action — the ranking compiled annually since 2017 measures the state of freedom of association, peaceful assembly and expression around the world. Researchers assign each country or territory one of five rankings describing the
NOT JUST CHIPS: Although semiconductor processes are on the list, it also includes military technology and post-quantum cryptography to combat emerging cyberthreats The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) yesterday released a list of 22 technologies it considers crucial to the nation’s security and competitiveness, including the 14-nanometer semiconductor process and advanced chip packaging. For the first time, the council made a list of core technologies with an aim of preventing secret information about those technologies being leaked to foreign countries, which could put the nation’s security and the competitiveness of local industries at risk. For years, local semiconductor companies have faced challenges from talent poaching and theft of corporate secrets by Chinese competitors, who are seeking to rapidly advance their technology capabilities through