Week of Nov. 14-20

Election-related stories dominated the headlines in the past week, with candidates and politicians busy making accusations and vicious comments against each other. Most forecasts predicted that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) could suffer a major setback in the 9-in-1 elections on Nov. 29. Welcome to this week’s issue of the Insider.



(Note: Taiwan’s election laws prohibit the disclosure, distribution, discussion and analysis of election polls during the 10 days prior to election day. As such, not data about public opinion polls will be provided in this issue.)

XFUTURE PREDICTS DPP GAINS: Xfuture.org, an election forecast website, released on Monday its last forecast of the 9-in-1 elections, saying the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the KMT could tie at 10 seats apiece in the 22 constituencies of mayoral elections for cities, counties, and special municipalities, with independents winning two.

Changhua County is the only constituency that is too close to call, Xfuture said, adding that the DPP is holding comfortable leads in eight constituencies and looking to take Penghu and Changhua while the KMT is having visible advantages in 10 constituencies, including Chiayi City. The DPP could win at least eight of the 22 constituencies — up from the current six — and is looking at 10 seats while the KMT could win 12 seats at the most, it said. Independent candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) is almost guaranteed to win the Taipei mayoral election, Xfuture said.


Xfuture prediction (the numbers reflect possibility of winning, not support ratings):

DPP advantage (8):

Keelung: Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) 50%, Hsieh Li-kun (謝立功) 37.46%

Greater Taichung: Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) 53.8%, Jason Hu (胡志強) 47%

Yunlin County: Lee Chin-yung (李進勇) 52.4%, Chang Li-shan (張麗善) 46.1%

Chiayi County: Helen Chang (張花冠) 60.39%, Weng Chun-chun (翁重鈞) 39%

Greater Tainan: William Lai (賴清德) 62.5%, Huang Shiu-shuang (黃秀霜) 36.1%

Greater Kaohsiung: Chen Chu (陳菊) 57.1%, Yang Chiu-hsing (楊秋興) 41%

Pingtung County: Pan Men-an (潘孟安) 59.3%, Chien Tai-lang (簡太郎) 42.26%

Yilan County: Lin Tsun-hsien (林聰賢) 56.7%, Chiu Shu-ti (邱淑緹) 42.5%


KMT (10):

New Taipei City: Eric Chu (朱立倫) 57.4%, Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃) 43.5%

Taoyuan City: John Wu (吳志揚) 53.52%, Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) 46.2%

Hsinchu City: Hsu Ming-tsai (許明財) 53%, Lin Chih-chien (林智堅) 38.4%

Hsinchu County: Chiu Ching-chun (邱鏡淳) 52.72%, Cheng Yung-chin (鄭永金) 49.9%

Miaoli County: Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) 58.23%, Wu Yi-chen (吳宜臻) 31%

Nantou County: Lin Ming-chen (林明溱) 53.77%, Lee Wen-chung (李文忠) 43%

Chiayi City: Chen Yi-chen (陳以真) 49.79%, Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲) 48.81%

Taitung County: Justin Huang (黃健庭) 53.1%, Liu Chao-hao (劉欋豪) 45.8%

Kinmen County: Lee Wo-shi (李沃士) 43.02%, Chen Fu-hai (陳福海) 36.18%

Lienchiang County: Yang Sui-sheng (楊綏生) 55.39%, Liu Tsen-ying (劉增應) 47.01%


Independents (2):

Taipei City: Ko Wen-je 52.45%, Sean Lien 45%

Hualien County: Fu Kun-chi (傅崑箕) 54.48%, Tsai Chi-ta (蔡啟塔) 27.38%


Close-calls (2):

Penghu County: Chen Kuang-fu (陳光復) 52.67%, Su Kun-hsiung (蘇崑雄) 48%

Changhua County: Lin Tsang-min (林滄敏) 48.1%, Wei Ming-ku (魏明谷) 47.82%, Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) 6%


DPP FORECAST: Former DPP secretary-general Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) told reporters on Monday that if the party won in Taichung, it could at least secure nine mayoral and commissioner seats and the party is optimistic about its chances in Penghu County.

KMT, DPP MAKING FINAL PUSH: The KMT and DPP are both making their final push in the final weekend before the election day, with KMT Chairman Ma scheduled to appear in 13 cities and counties in two days while the DPP will organize three large rallies in Chiayi City (Friday), New Taipei City (Saturday) and Taoyuan (Sunday) where heavyweight politicians will gather to stump for DPP candidates.

BEIJING WATCHING CLOSELY: American academics said Beijing is worried about potential KMT losses in the 9-in-1 elections and that the ramifications of a defeat as Ma could be forced to step down from his post of KMT chairman and the party could lose the 2016 presidential election.

NEGATIVE CAMPAIGNING: Feeling the heat of potential setback in the capital, KMT politicians surprised many with several vicious remarks this past week. Starting with Lien Chan, the former vice president called Ko Wen-je a “bastard,” “Aoyama Wen-je” (Aoyama, 青山, was a family surname after Ko’s grandfather made the change under the Japanization movement) and the descendent of a “Japanized family” because Ko’s father worked as a teacher during the Japanese colonial period.

Lien also said that Ko was a hardcore Taiwan independence supporter, adding that most young people supported Ko because their values have been “messed up” by the de-Sinicization movement under the DPP administration, which ruled from 2000 through 2008.

Separately, former premier Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村) said that if the KMT lost the election in Taipei, the Republic of China (ROC) would cease to exist. President Ma described Sean Lien as a “lion” and Ko, his opponent, as a “demon.”

DISPUTE OVER KO-DPP COOPERATION: Ko and DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen both denied reports by the Chinese-language United Daily News (UDN) that they had struck a deal that Ko would have to obtain the DPP’s consent before making policy if elected. Ko reiterated that the DPP had pledged not to involve itself in his decision on personnel and policy-making and the consensus was an “oral agreement” rather than a “contract.” Confronted by the DPP, UDN argued that its report was based on a question by a reporter from another news outlet.

MA’S YEAR-END BONUS PLEDGE QUESTIONED: Ma’s promise to lower the threshold for retired public servants to receive a year-end bonus ahead of the elections drew criticism from Ko and opposition parties, who said that the pledge constituted vote-buying.

THOUSANDS QUESTIONED FOR ALLEGED VOTE-BUYING: The Supreme Prosecutors Office said on Monday that almost 5,000 people (in 2,139 cases) had been questioned over alleged vote-buying activities and that 18 had been detained. Overall, more than 7,000 people are under investigation over election-related cases.



LIEN CHAN LEAKING INFORMATION TO CHINA? In his new book published in late October, former National Security Council secretary-general Su Chi (蘇起) wrote that when he briefed former vice president Lien Chan on the contents of Ma’s inauguration speech a day before the 2008 inaugural ceremony, Lien asked that the speech be recited slowly so he could transcribe it word for word. Su added that at the time, he “did not dare to think more about why [Lien would need to have a complete copy].”

The passage prompted concerns over Lien’s relaying the transcript to Beijing before the speech was delivered. Several political analysts said the timing of the release of Su’s book was suspicious and could be Ma’s attempt to undermine Sean Lien’s campaign. Su is regarded as a close confidant to Ma.

MA VOWS TO COMPLETE DEALS: In an interview with Nikkei Asian Review, President Ma said he was determined to complete the negotiations and signing of the cross-strait agreement on service trade and trade in goods before he steps down in March 2016.

TAIWAN-JAPAN MOUs: Taiwan and Japan signed four memorandums of understanding (MOU) promoting tourism exchanges, sharing information on immigration, nuclear power safety and patent protection related to biotechnological research on Thursday. According to a Taiwanese official, the two sides are looking to complete negotiations on a bilateral economic partnership agreement.

OBAMA’S COMMENTS ON TAIWAN: Did U.S. President Barack Obama tell Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) during their meeting that Washington does not support Taiwan independence and would not jeopardize Beijing’s focus on national “unity,” as state-owned Xinhua news agency reported? Neither U.S. authorities nor the Taiwanese government were able to confirm the matter, but Richard Bush of the Brookings Institute said that “unity” did not necessarily mean unification.

MOEA’S CRYSTAL BALL: Minister of Economic Affairs Woody Duh (杜紫軍) admitted that his ministry had conducted an impact assessment of the South Korea-China free-trade agreement and announced the negative impact on Taiwan despite the fact that details of the FTA had yet to be disclosed. Civic groups and the opposition questioned the estimates and said they were exaggerated.

TAIWAN MOURNS BELLOCCHI: DPP Chairperson Tsai and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs mourned the passing of former American Institute in Taiwan chairman Nat Bellocchi, who died on Monday, praising Bellocchi’s contributions to bilateral relations.

KURT TONG VISITS TAIWAN: Kurt Tong, principal deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, visited Taiwan between Wednesday and Friday for discussions of bilateral trade and investment issues.



KEELUNG NAVAL PORT RELOCATION: Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) on Wednesday announced plans to relocate a naval port on Keelung Harbor’s east side to the west to make way for the construction of a commercial wharf and promote tourism in the area. The plan, which promised to make Keelung “Taiwan’s Baltimore” by 2019, was seen by analysts as an effort to boost the KMT’s Keelung mayoral campaign. The plan was first proposed more than two decades ago.

CHINESE BOATS EXPELLED: The Coast Guard Administration said on Wednesday that a fleet of 29 Chinese fishing boats that intruded into near-shore waters to the south of Penghu on Tuesday have all been expelled. Local fishermen called for the military — not the coast guard— to handle the increasing Chinese intrusions. However, the Navy said it does not have the authority to expel Chinese fishing boats.

SPY SUSPECT RELEASED ON BAIL: Retired air force colonel and former AT-3 training aircraft pilot Chou Chih-li (周自立) was released on NT$250,000 bail on Monday after being detained for two months over allegations of spying for China. Chou was accused of overseeing a spying network of at least 10 active and retired officers in the air force and army.

F-16 UPGRADES: The Chinese-language Liberty Times reported that the U.S. military and Lockheed Martin had requested a new and tightly secured hangar in Taichung’s Shalu District for the upgrade program of 143 F-16 fighter jets over concerns of intelligence leaking and infiltration by Chinese spies.

TAIWAN-SINGAPORE MILITARY COOPERATION UNHARMED: Foreign Minister David Lin (林永樂) said on Wednesday that Taiwan’s military cooperation with Singapore will continue despite a decision by the city-state to increase its military cooperation with China.



ROWS OVER AGREEMENT OVERSIGHT: The KMT condemned the DPP’s blocking of the review of legislation on a cross-strait agreement oversight mechanism in the legislature, saying that it was the root cause for Taiwan’s economic stagnation. The DPP said the Executive Yuan’s proposal could not monitor anything and that the criticism was purely rhetoric for electoral purposes.

FOOD SAFETY LAW AMENDMENT: Lawmakers passed an amendment to the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation on Tuesday. Individuals who are found guilty of harming consumers’ health could face up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to NT$20 million (US$6.5 million). Companies in violation of the law could be fined up to NT$2 billion (US$65 million).


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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