New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) has triggered speculation over his stance on Saturday’s referendums after writing on social media that voters should exercise their independent judgement.
On the ballot are to be questions related to banning the importation of pork containing traces of the leanness-enhancing feed additive ractopamine, relocating a natural gas terminal project to protect algal reefs off Taoyuan’s Guanyin District (觀音), restarting construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮) and holding referendums alongside elections.
Writing on Facebook on Monday evening, Hou, a member of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), called on the public to make up their own minds on the referendums, saying that no one has the right to tell someone else how to vote.
“The referendums should be held after the public has calmly debated the issues with the help of experts, reason and science... Instead, they are treated as a straight-ticket vote and voters are being spoon-fed choices,” he wrote.
“The reason for holding a referendum is to make known the people’s will, and for them to weigh the pros and cons of each proposition in their own mind before arriving at a decision,” he said.
The nation cannot afford divisions and internal strife, Hou said.
His unchanging political belief is to “put the people’s welfare above all else, including the party, factions and my personal ambitions,” he wrote.
Hou told a news conference at the Shulin Civil Sports Center yesterday that the post “conveys the core belief that the people should decide after debating the issues with reason, science and logic.”
Asked to comment on Hou’s post, KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) told a news conference at the party’s headquarters in Taipei that the KMT “has a duty to courageously state its position regarding the issues.”
Hou has a right to express his opinion to the party’s supporters, but politicians need to exercise the art of speaking carefully in a multi-party democracy, KMT caucus convener Alex Fai (費鴻泰) said.
“Of course, the party hopes that Hou would clearly communicate his stance. New Taipei City voters are an important part of the party’s base and a majority of the public supports the four referendums,” KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said.
Later yesterday, Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦), of the Democratic Progressive Party, told a news conference at city hall that Hou’s post shows that he opposes the KMT’s position on the referendums.
Numerous county commissioners and mayors have demurred from the KMT’s line of voting yes on all four referendums and Hou is expressing his dissent in a polite way, Cheng said.
The four referendums reflect the political extremism that hijacked the KMT under then-chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣), Cheng added.
BLUE WAVE: The KMT’s Chiang Wan-an defeated the DPP’s Chen Shih-chung and is to become Taipei mayor, while President Tsai Ing-wen stepped down as DPP chairperson after many of the party’s candidates, handpicked by the leadership, performed poorly The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday flipped key mayoral seats in Taipei, Taoyuan and Keelung, and won control of 13 out of 22 cities and counties in the nine-in-one local elections. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) last night resigned as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson over a poor showing by the party’s candidates, who were handpicked by the DPP leadership rather than chosen through primaries. The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) won its first high-profile race with Hsinchu mayoral candidate Ann Kao (高虹安) defeating Shen Hui-hung (沈慧虹) of the DPP with 45.02 percent of the vote to Shen’s 35.68 percent. Voters were choosing more than
CAUTION: Wearing a mask in crowded places and for people with chronic illnesses or allergies can help prevent COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, the CECC said The mask mandate for outdoor settings is to lifted on Thursday, and the weekly cap on international inbound travelers is to be removed on Dec. 10, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said at its regular news conference yesterday. The center also announced that starting from Friday, children aged five to 11 can receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster, and that rules for visiting hospital patients are to be partially eased from Dec. 10. While wearing a mask will no longer be mandatory outdoors, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝) reminded the public that it would still be required
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: China might impose a blockade, conduct limited force operations, use an air and missile campaign, or resort to an invasion, the report said The US Department of Defense has identified four possible military courses of action that China could take against Taiwan, but did not offer any guess on when Beijing might be ready to act. In an annual report to the US Congress released on Tuesday titled Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2022, the department gave a broad overview of China’s military capabilities, strategy, ambitions and intentions. The report devoted significant space to developments related to Taiwan, against which it said China had intensified diplomatic, economic, political and military pressure last year. For example, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA)
ANALYSIS: The local elections showed that the KMT is a competitive player, but needs to work at changing its image regarding China, experts said The nine-in-one local election results would bolster the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), but are unlikely to have a major effect on the 2024 presidential election, when cross-strait issues are back in focus, political commentators said. In Saturday’s elections, the KMT won 13 of the 21 cities and counties up for grabs, including four of the country’s six biggest metropolitan areas, where nearly 70 percent of the population lives. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lost three of the seven cities and counties it held, although it gained Penghu County. Its poor results prompted President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to announce her resignation as party