Chen Shui Bian’s party decimated in easy-to-predict election

No, not really. Those who have been following ESWN’s interesting series on polls in Taipei may find the reality of the situation somewhat inexplicable, but here it is.

Taiwan’s ruling party defied expectations that it would be trounced in local elections Saturday, handing President Chen Shui-bian some breathing room after months of fighting off scandals. But the mixed results probably will result in continued political infighting at least through the 2008 presidential election, analysts said.

In the two most closely watched races, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party narrowly won the mayoral race in the city of Kaohsiung and the opposition Nationalists won handily in Taipei.

The elections were seen as a referendum on Chen, who has been battling corruption-related allegations for six months. Chen’s wife and three former aides were indicted last month on charges of embezzling $450,000 from a national affairs fund under presidential control. The prosecutor said Chen could face the same charges when his term – and presidential immunity – ends.

The Kaohsiung victory boosted morale in the president’s office: Pundits and opinion polls had predicted a humiliating loss for candidate Chen Chu. The results also bolstered the party’s reputation for running excellent grass-roots campaigns.

This was suposed to be a slam-dunk for the blues. Go figure.

The Discussion: 4 Comments

As I recall from my 8 years in Taipei, Taiwan “democratic” elections are significantly influenced by the systematic vote buying (door to door cash in return for promise of support), so maybe not so unusual?

December 12, 2006 @ 12:01 pm | Comment

You mean the independence-minded DDP, scourge of the business community, was able to buy more votes than long-time power KMT?

December 12, 2006 @ 6:28 pm | Comment

snowdog, quite the reverse. The DPP simply managed to get its vote out. As people like Michael Turton have been saying for some time, the poll methods used are antiquated. Who sits at home waiting for the phone to ring during the day, when most people are at work? If they bothered to call mobile phones the poll predictions may have been more reliable.

I think what this shows is that people are more interested in local issues than corruption allegations. The KMT keep banging on about President Chen, but how does that affect people at the local level? It doesn’t.

Once again the KMT may well have thrown an election away because they focused on the wrong issues. Hopefully they will actually get on with their real jobs and allow the government to pass some legislation.

December 12, 2006 @ 10:03 pm | Comment

Let’s not get too hasty. The election in Kaohsiung was a defeat for Taiwan. Hidden by Chen Chu’s narrow victory — no more than a statistical blip in a city where elections have historically been very tight — was a 5 seat gain in the city council for the KMT. Clearly vote buying was rampant this time around. The CEC was already noting an upward trend in cases…….so Chen Chu will face a divided council that doesn’t like her.

On the other hand the DPP and allies made up three seats in the Taipei city council, the KMT and friends lost 3. Soong’s PFP was blown out, losing six seats — eat that, Mr. $400 million. And hsieh got 40 frickin percent of the vote. I didn’t expect the DPP to do so well. People wonder why the DPP appeals to its base in every election with slams of China. Well folks, because it works.


December 12, 2006 @ 10:50 pm | Comment

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