Special election edition, Week of Nov. 21-29

(This week’s issue of the Insider, which is usually published on Friday, was moved to Sunday to reflect the complete results of the 9-in-1 elections.)

President Ma Ying-jeou and his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) suffered arguably the largest defeat in Taiwan’s recent electoral history on Saturday, with the in the 9-in-1 elections — the nation’s largest ever — almost certain to change the political landscape and dynamics as well as cross-strait relations. Welcome to this week’s issue of the Insider.



#The KMT suffered a landslide defeat, winning only six of the 22 constituencies in the mayoral and commissioner elections while the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) more than doubled it current local administrations of six and eventually won 13 out of 22. This was the KMT’s largest setback since the mayoral and commissioner election in 1997, when it only secured 8 of the 23 seats while the DPP won 12.

#Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and KMT Secretary-General Tseng Yung-chyuan (曾永權) immediately tendered their resignations. While many KMT politicians and analysts opined that Ma should take responsibility and resign as KMT Chairman, Ma said he was staying at the position and would launch party reform. Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) are said to be possible candidates for premiership.

#Independent candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) routed KMT candidate Sean Lien (連勝文) by more than 200,000 votes to win the capital city of Taipei, the campaign that by far drew the most attention from the public.

#The DPP scored two surprise victories in Taoyuan City, where challenger Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) knocked out incumbent John Wu (吳志揚), and in Hsinchu City, where Lin Chih-chien (林智堅) prevailed in a three-way race. The DPP also won in the central Taiwan constituencies of Taichung and Chuanghua County by larger-than-expected margins.

#Another surprise occurred in New Taipei City, where Eric Chu (朱立倫) survived a scare and beat the DPP’s Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃) by less than 30,000 votes despite Chu eyeing a victory by more than 300,000 votes. Observers said the close win could cost Chu a shot at the presidency in 2016 and make Vice President Wu den-yih (吳敦義) a likely favorite to win the KMT presidential nomination.

#Saturday’s victory appears to have solidified DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) political profile as well as her prospect of a run in the presidential election in 2016. Tsai lauded “the best performance in recent memory” in her post-election speech but stressed that the DPP should not be overjoyed. Meanwhile, Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) said after winning reelection that he “has no plan” to run for president in 2016.

#According to the Central Election Commission, the national turnout of the 9-in-1 elections was 67.59%. Turnout for special municipality elections was 66.31% and 70.4% for mayoral and commissioner elections.

#International media outlets reported on the elections, most of them describing the polls as a referendum on Ma’s “pro-China” policy and an indicator of how the government has failed to address voters’ concerns about stagnant wages and income inequality, despite building stronger economic ties with China.

Japan’s NHK reported that the defeat showed people’s disapproval of Taiwan’s trade ties with China and would likely cripple the remainder of Ma’s second and last term.

Read the reports here: Reuters, South China Morning Post, WSJ, BBC, CS Monitor, VOA

Election results are listed below:

Special municipality mayors, city mayors and commissioners

Seats: DPP 13, KMT 6, independents 3


(Note: Only major candidates are listed, winners in BOLD)

Constituency Results (Candidate, party, votes, vote share)
Taipei City(Special Municipality) Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), independent, 853,983, 57.2%Sean Lien (連勝文), KMT, 609,932, 40.8%
New Taipei City(Special Municipality) Eric Chu (朱立倫), KMT, 959,302, 50.1%Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃), DPP, 48.8%
Taoyuan City(Special Municipality) Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦), DPP, 492,414, 51.0%John Wu (吳志揚), KMT, 463,133, 48.0%
Taichung(Special Municipality) Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), DPP, 847,284, 57.1%Jason Hu (胡志強), KMT, 637,531, 42.9%
Tainan(Special Municipality) William Lai (賴清德), DPP, 711,557, 72.9%Huang Shiu-shuang (黃秀霜), KMT, 264,536, 27.1%
Kaohsiung(Special Municipality) Chen Chu (陳菊), DPP, 993,300, 68.1%Yang Chiu-hsing (楊秋興), KMT, 450,647, 30.9%
Hsinchu County Chiu Ching-chun (邱鏡淳), KMT, 124,309, 47.0%Cheng Yung-chin (鄭永金), independent, 118,698, 44.8%
Hsinchu City Lin Chih-chien (林智堅), DPP, 76,578, 38.4%Hsu Ming-tsai (許明財), KMT, 75,564, 37.9%

Tsai Jen-chien (蔡仁堅), independent, 40,480, 20.3%

Miaoli County Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌), KMT, 147,547, 46.6%Wu Yi-chen (吳宜臻), DPP, 89,838, 39.6%

Kang Shih-ju (康世儒), independent, 60,356, 19.1%

Changhua County Wei Ming-ku (魏明谷), DPP, 386,405, 53.7%Lin Tsang-min (林滄敏), KMT, 284,738, 39.6%

Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲), independent, 37,593, 5.2%

Nantou County Lin Ming-chen (林明溱), KMT, 149,361, 51.0%Lee Wen-chung (李文忠), DPP, 143,719, 49.0%
Yunlin County Lee Chin-yung (李進勇), DPP, 232,900, 57.0%Chang Li-shan (張麗善), KMT, 175,862, 43.0%
Chiayi County Helen Chang (張花冠), DPP, 193,399, 63.1%Weng Chung-chun (翁重鈞), 104,488, 34.1%
Chiayi City Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲), DPP, 74,698, 51.4%Chen Yi-chen (陳以真), KMT, 66,108, 45.5%
Pingtung County Pan Men-an (潘孟安), DPP, 308,953, 63.0%Chien Tai-lang (簡太郎), KMT, 182,027, 37.0%
Yilan County Lin Tsun-hsien (林聰賢), DPP, 160,253, 64.0%Chiu Shu-ti (邱淑緹), KMT, 90,320, 36.1%
Hualien County Fu Kun-chi (傅崑萁), independent, 89,048, 56.5%Tsai Chi-ta (蔡啟塔), KMT, 43,504, 27.6%
Taitung County Justin Huang (黃健庭), KMT, 64,272, 54.4%Liu Chao-hao (劉櫂豪), DPP, 53,860, 45.6%
Penghu County Chen Kuang-fu (陳光復), DPP, 29,164, 55.3%Su Kun-hsiung (蘇崑雄), KMT, 23,533, 44.7%
Kinmen County Chen Fu-hai (陳福海), independent, 23,965, 52.8%Lee Wo-shi (李沃士), KMT, 15,146, 33.4%
Lianchiang County Liu Tsen-ying (劉增應), KMT, 4,385, 66.3%Yang Sui-sheng (楊綏生), 2,234, 33.8%
Keelung City Lin Yu-chang (林右昌), DPP, 101,010, 53.2%Hsieh Li-kung (謝立功), KMT, 52,198, 27.5%

Huang Ching-tai (黃景泰), independent, 30,914, 16.3%


In total, the DPP won 5.83 million votes (47.6% of the total votes) over the KMT’s 4.99 million votes (40.7%) in the mayoral and commissioner elections. The population governed by the DPP will account for 61.7% of the national population of 23 million after the elections.

#Special municipality councilors, city councilors and county councilors

The DPP did better in the councilor elections than 2010, when it tied with the KMT with 130 seats apiece in five special municipality councils. This year the DPP managed to outperform the KMT 167 to 151 in six special municipalities:


Constituency DPP seats KMT seats Total seats
Taipei City 27 28 63
New Taipei City 32 26 66
Taoyuan City 20 29 60
Taichung 27 28 63
Tainan 28 16 57
Kaohsiung 33 24 66
Total 167 151 375


The DPP will also enjoy a legislative majority in Kaohsiung, Tainan (if a Taiwan Solidarity Union seat is added) and New Taipei City (if a Taiwan Solidarity Union seat is added).

Nationally the KMT still fares better than the DPP in terms of the number of city and county councilors, winning 386 of the total 907 seats:


Party Seats Party Seats
KMT 386 Green Party 2
DPP 291 Non-Partisan Solidarity Union 2
Independents 203 Labor Party 1
People First Party 9 Tree Party 1
Taiwan Solidarity Union 9 Taiwan First Nations Party 1
New Party 2


Overall, the DPP finished in a tie with the KMT in terms of votes share —the DPP garnered 4.52 million votes (37.1%) while the KMT had 4.49 million (36.9%).

#Other elections

The KMT still dominated elections at the grassroots level, such as township chiefs, township councilors, and borough and village wardens.

Township chiefs: KMT (80), Independents (68), DPP (64)

Township councilors: Independents (1,400), KMT (538), DPP (194)

Borough and village wardens: Independents (5,649), (KMT) 1,794, (DPP) 390

(Smaller parties are not listed)



LIEN CHAN REMARKS AFTERSHOCKS: The Lien camp remained in damage-control mode over Lien Chan’s remarks that depicted Ko as a “bastard” and his family a “Japanized family” during the week prior to the elections, until the senior Lien publicly “apologized” for “causing discomfort.”

However, former premier Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村), who had made similar remarks about Ko’s background, was unapologetic, saying that his knowledge about Ko’s family came from Wikipedia.

However, senior KMT politicians saw the remarks by Lien and Hau Sr. as having caused a devastating blow to the already difficult campaign. KMT Standing Committee member Chiu Fu-sheng (邱復生), chairman and CEO of Era Communications Co (年代網際事業), estimated that the comments had antagonized swing voters and may have cost Sean Lien as much as 7% of the votes.

KMT CAMPAIGNING IN CHINA: The Chinese-language Liberty Times reported it had received pictures sent by a China-based Taiwanese businessman which showed several large bulletin board with campaign slogans calling for support of Sean Lien and Jason Hu were erected in downtown Shanghai.

TYCOON DRAWS FIRE FOR CAMPAIGNING: Terry Gou (郭台銘), chairman of Hong Hai Precision Group, has drawn criticism for using his clout to campaign for KMT candidates when he pledged an investment of NT$200 billion (US$6.47 billion) in Taichung on Tuesday if Mayor Jason Hu were re-elected. With the majority of his investment in China, Gou has been a staunch KMT supporter. He also appeared at Sean Lien’s final rally on the eve of Election Day.

ELECTION IRREGULARITIES: More than 4,000 allegations of electoral irregularities were reported, with 10,041 people under investigation as of Wednesday, according to Prosecutor-General Yen Ta-ho (顏大和).

ORGAN CLAIMS CONTROVERSY: In a statement issued before Election Day, Ethan Gutmann, author of a book on live organ harvesting, denied he alleged that Ko Wen-je was an “organ broker.” Still, led by KMT Legislator Su Ching-chuyan (蘇清泉), president of the Taiwan Medical Association, Su and the KMT attacked Ko with the allegations, a move that backfired among physicians nationwide. More than 45,000 signatures were collected to demand Su step down as TMA president.

WIRETAPPING CONTROVERSY CONTINUES: A private detective publicly admitted he planted a telephone bug in Ko’s office after prosecutors cleared Ko’s office of staging a wiretapping incident. Nevertheless, Alex Tsai (蔡正元), Lien’s campaign manager, has filed a defamation lawsuit against Ko.

LAWMAKERS RESIGN: Lin Chia-lung and Wei Ming-ku, both DPP lawmakers, resigned from their post in the legislature on Tuesday to show determination to win in mayoral and commissioner elections in Taichung and Changhua County respectively. According to election laws, by-elections will be held within three months.

MEDIA ELECTION ANALYSIS: Agence France-Presse (AFP) ran a feature on how the 9-in-1 elections would be seen as a barometer for the 2016 presidential election. Reuters describes how the United Front Work Department is involved in activities that attempt to sway Taiwanese.



CHINA’S TOP NEGOTIATOR TO VISIT TAIWAN: Chen Deming (陳德銘), president of China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), is scheduled to visit Taiwan’s agricultural, tourism and other sectors by the end of the year, according to a Chinese official.

FTA, SOUTH KOREA AS KMT’S CAMPAIGN TOOL: A TV commercial released by the KMT in which a woman in traditional Korean dress “thanks” the DPP for helping South Korea by blocking cross-strait trade negotiations and stalling Taiwan’s development was not only lambasted locally but also criticized by South Korean and Japanese media. South Korean news agency Newsis described the KMT’s commercial as “negative” while the Tokyo Keizai magazine said it was almost as if the KMT regarded South Korea as its cheerleader, adding that the ad would generate “nothing productive.” The KMT has been using the South Korea-China FTA free trade agreement as leverage against the DPP in the final stage of the 9-in-1 elections. However, an expert warned that South Korea “may not be as happy as Taiwan thinks” with the agreement.

LEE TENG-HUI ON FUTURE OF TAIWAN, CHINA: In a two-hour interview with Watchout, a social enterprise that focuses on operating websites related to civil democratic movement, on Wednesday, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) took questions from netizens which ranged from his role in Taiwan’s democratization to his views on China.

On cross-strait relations and the future, Lee reiterated that the so-called “1992 Consensus” does not exist and predicted that the basic structure of the cross-strait relations could change within a decade, with China’s possible democratization and an opportunity for Taiwan to “say we’re Taiwan and not the Republic of China (ROC).” Lee also said that the objective of establishing the National Unification Council in 1990 was not to promote unification but, to the contrary, the goal was to terminate senior KMT politicians’ dream of “retaking the Chinese mainland,” he said.



TOLL COLLECTORS PROTEST: Hundreds of former toll collectors and their supporters staged protests and a hunger strike throughout the past week. On Friday, a protest on National Sun Yat-sen Freeway saw seven people climbing one of the electronic toll collection (ETC) system gantries and stayed there for hours. On Thursday, a conflict erupted between police and the protesters, leaving six protesters injured. One was taken to hospital following a hunger strike.

PLANNED INDONESIAN FEMALE WORKERS EXPORT STOPPAGE: Observers expressed concerns over potential stoppage of Indonesian female workers within five years, a plan announced by Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla on Friday, saying that could affect labor sources for Taiwan’s long-term care sector. Local activists said while the plan was a concern, Taiwan’s failure of ensuring appropriate foreign labor welfare was why Indonesia is mulling the ban.


The Taiwan Insider is a weekly feature prepared by the Thinking Taiwan Foundation’s Chris Wang and staff members. Comments? Leads? You can reach us at editor@thinking-taiwan.com.

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