One day after mayor and county commissioner elections, attention turned yesterday to next year’s special municipality elections, with Taipei County Commissioner Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) urging the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to begin the nomination process and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) remaining mum on whether she would stand for election.
The five municipalities holding elections next December are Taipei City, Taipei County — which will be upgraded and renamed Sinbei City (新北市) — and a merged Taichung County and City, Tainan County and City, and Kaohsiung County and City.
Chou, who early last month said he would run for the top job of Sinbei City, said yesterday the KMT should begin preparing for primaries as soon as possible, preferably after the Lunar New Year.
Chou said the nominees should not be selected through internal party negotiations.
Chou, whose approval ratings have been consistently low according to various polls, made the remarks in response to questions about a report in the Chinese-language China Times yesterday saying the KMT planned to nominate Vice Premier Eric Chu (朱立倫) in Sinbei City.
KMT headquarters yesterday said it was not yet time to think about the primaries.
“Our first priority is to look at the nomination system,” KMT Spokesman Lee Chien-jung (李建榮) said, adding that nominating the right people is half the battle.
The incumbent party in a county or city cannot count on winning, he said. Citing Taipei County as an example, he said before Chou was elected, it was long governed by the DPP, but that did not stop Chou from winning.
As the DPP could nominate former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) in Sinbei City, the KMT must nominate someone who can defeat him to “secure the beachhead” for Ma ahead of 2012, Lee said.
Judging from the size of Sinbei City, Lee said the “consequences will be severe” if the KMT loses it.
“The KMT cannot afford a split [in the vote], as the DPP’s support base is similar [in size] to the KMT’s,” he said.
On two legislative by-elections to be held next month and four more next year to fill vacancies left by winners in Saturday’s polls, Lee said the KMT would do its best to prevent the DPP from winning enough seats to propose a recall of the president.
Meanwhile, at a separate setting yesterday, Su and Tsai were tight-lipped about their prospects for next year’s polls.
Su said he would respect the party’s nomination and public opinion, while Tsai said “it depends on the overall mapping and planning.” Neither Su nor Tsai elaborated.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER
COMMUNICATION: A US representative said that Starshield is inactive in and around Taiwan, which could put US military personnel at risk in the Western Pacific in a conflict Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX) might have contravened its Pentagon contract by not providing access to its satellite communication network Starshield in and around Taiwan, a letter from a US House of Representatives committee to the company said. In September last year, the US Department of Defense awarded SpaceX a one-year contract for Starshield access, worth US$100 million. A few months before that, the Pentagon also commissioned SpaceX’s Starlink satellite network to be used by Ukrainian forces amid Russia’s invasion. Starshield is a derivative of Starlink intended for military use. SpaceX has long worked closely with the US military and intelligence agencies, which
SEEKING CALM: The US called for maintaining the ‘status quo,’ while the Ministry of National Defense said it would not bolster defenses in the area to avoid raising tensions Taiwanese should have greater faith in the government’s investigation into the capsizing of a Chinese vessel that resulted in the death of two Chinese fishers last week, the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) said yesterday, adding that Taiwan abides by the rule of law. On Wednesday last week, a Chinese speedboat was spotted trespassing in “prohibited” waters within 1.1 nautical miles (2km) of the east coast of Kinmen. It fled after refusing the coast guard’s request to board the vessel, setting off a chase that led to the boat capsizing, with two Chinese fishers dying. Two survivors were deported back to China
KINMEN: Coast guards on both sides of the Taiwan Strait should prohibit the entry of illegal vessels into ‘restricted’ waters to uphold maritime safety, Chen Chien-jen said Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) yesterday called for both sides of the Taiwan Strait to approach the security of Kinmen and Xiamen waters with rationality and equitability, following a boat chase that resulted in the death of two Chinese fishers last week. Chen was responding to media inquiries ahead of a legislative session amid rising cross-strait tensions following the capsizing of a Chinese speedboat off the east coast of Kinmen on Wednesday last week during a pursuit by the Taiwanese coast guard. The Ministry of National Defense established the boundaries of “prohibited” and “restricted” waters around Kinmen in 1992 to better protect
GREAT EXPECTATIONS: TSMC founder Morris Chang said he has high hopes for the new fab, based on his experience in Japan 56 years earlier, and amid high demand for AI Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday held an opening ceremony for its first chip manufacturing fab in Kumamoto, Japan, which it hopes will improve chip supply resilience and help Japan usher in a semiconductor renaissance. The Kumamoto fab is slated to enter volume production in the fourth quarter of this year. The Japanese government said it would extend its financial support of the project to include the construction of a second factory, as TSMC’s investment is crucial to its efforts to revive its semiconductor industry. The Kumamoto fab is owned by a joint venture, Japan Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing Inc (JASM), which