Kaohsiung Legislative Redistricting

I want to continue looking at the CEC’s redistricting plans for legislative yuan elections in the three direct municipalities that are changing borders.  Today we will look at Greater Kaohsiung.

The first big thing is that Kaohsiung is apparently losing a seat.  In 2008, Kaohsiung City had five seats and Kaohsiung County had four; this plan only lists eight seats.  As one might expect, these go from being relatively “light” districts (average population in 2008: 303972) to relatively “heavy” districts (average population in new districts: 342710).  I had expected that Nantou County, not Kaohsiung City, would lose the seat that Tainan County is gaining.  Maybe there are also other changes afoot.  The new plan has more equally sized districts than the old system; the standard deviation drops from 29237 to 21486.

Here are the old districts.  The first five are from Kaohsiung City, and the last four are in Kaohsiung County.

Townships/districts Pop.
1 左營 , 楠梓 Zuoying, Nanzi 350398
2 鹽埕 , 鼓山 , 旗津 , 三民 (部分) Yancheng, Gushan, Qijin, Sanmin (part) 270140
3 三民 (部分) Sanmin (part) 265710
4 新興 , 前金 , 苓雅 , 前鎮 (部分) Xinxing, Qianjin, Lingya, Qianzhen (part) 308251
5 小港 , 前鎮 (部分) Xiaogang, Qianzhen (part) 313616
6 大樹 , 大社 , 燕巢 , 田寮 , 阿蓮 , 旗山 , 美濃 , 六龜 , 甲仙 , 杉林 , 內門 , 茂林 , 桃源 , 那瑪夏 Dashu, Dashe, Yanchao, Tianliao, Alian, Qishan, Meinong, Liugui, Jiaxian, Shanlin, Neimen, Maolin, Taoyuan, Namaxia 284882
7 岡山 , 橋頭 , 路竹 , 湖內 , 茄萣 , 永安 , 彌陀 , 梓官 Gangshan, Qiaotou, Luzhu, Hunei, Jiading, Yong’an, Mituo, Ziguan 318899
8 林園 , 大寮 , 仁武 , 鳥松 Linyuan, Daliao, Renwu, Niaosong 286931
9 鳳山 Fengshan 336920

Oh, that’s boring.  Let’s throw in some political characteristics.  I’m listing the 2008 party list votes for the blue (KMT+New) and green (DPP+TSU) camps as well as the current incumbent.

blue green incumbent incumbent party
1 55.6 41.1 黃昭順 Huang Zhaoshun KMT
2 46.4 50.6 官碧玲 Guan Biling DPP
3 48.1 48.5 侯彩鳳 Hou Caifeng KMT
4 49.1 47.6 李復興 Li Fuxing KMT
5 46.0 50.6 郭玟成 Guo Wencheng DPP
6 45.0 47.9 鍾紹和 Zhong Shaohe KMT
7 46.8 48.2 林益世 Lin Yishi KMT
8 42.9 52.3 陳啟昱 Chen Qiyu DPP
9 51.4 45.3 江玲君 Jiang Lingjun KMT

You can see what a lousy election the DPP had. They lost three districts in which the green camp got more party list votes than the blue camp.  Part of that is due to good KMT candidates (Districts 6 and 7).  In District 3, the DPP lost due to a splinter candidate who took 7% of the vote.

Now let’s look at the CEC’s new plan:

Townships/districts Pop.
1 桃源、那瑪夏、甲仙、六龜、杉林、內門、旗山、美濃、茂林、茄萣、湖內、路竹、永安、阿蓮、田寮、燕巢 Taoyuan, Namaxia, Jiaxian, Liugui, Shanlin, Neimen, Qishan, Meinong, Maolin, Jiading, Hunei, Luzhu, Yong’an, Alian, Tianliao, Yanchao 332,076
2 岡山、彌陀、梓官、橋頭、楠梓 Gangshan, Mituo, Ziguan, Qiaotou, Nanzi 359,714
3 大社、仁武、鳥松、大樹、大寮、林園 Dashe, Renwu, Niaosong, Dushu, Daliao, Linyuan 366,029
4 左營、鼓山、旗津 Zuoying, Gushan, Qishan 346,380
5 三民 Sanmin 354,061
6 鳳山 Fengshan 337,871
7 鹽埕、前金、新興、苓雅 Yancheng, Qianjin, Xinxing, Lingya 297,034
8 前鎮、小港 Qianzhen, Xiaogang 348,512

Here’s the party list vote in each of the new districts, plus a brief summary of how it was constructed from the old districts:

blue green Notes
1 46.8 46.2 old #6 plus Hunei, Yong’an, Jiading, Luzhu
2 49.2 46.6 half from old #1, half from old #7
3 42.2 53.1 old #8 plus Dashe, Dashu
4 54.7 42.1 half from old #1, half from old #2
5 46.4 50.4 half from old #2, half from old #3
6 51.4 45.3 old #9
7 48.6 48.2 old #4 plus Yancheng, minus part of Qianzhen
8 46.3 50.3 old #5 plus rest of Qianzhen

Maybe we’re getting into table overload here (impossible!).  In the following, I’ll look at each district with a special emphasis on how these changes look to the incumbent.

District 1 is basically the old district 6 plus four townships.  Geographically, this is by far the largest and most rural district.  It runs from the deep mountains along the northern border all the way to the ocean.  It is ethnically diverse, with lots of Hakkas and Aborigines interspersed with the majority Minnan.  There are relatively fewer mainlanders here, though.  The addition of the four coastal towns tilts the party balance somewhat toward the KMT.  (Keep in mind that 2008 was a very good year for the KMT; present party strength is probably somewhat more favorable to the DPP.)  However, just by looking at raw party strength, this should be a very competitive district.  In fact, I don’t expect the KMT to lose it.  Reportedly, Zhong Shaohe 鍾紹和 has complained that it is too big.  Literature from American politics suggests that he should be happy about the size and complexity of his district.  If it is difficult for him to “digest,” imagine how hard it will be for a challenger who only has a few months.

District 2 is the weird one.  It is the only district to cross the county/city line.  About half the district comes from the old #1 and the other half comes from the old #7.  From a partisan viewpoint, this is a very competitive district.  The KMT had a slight edge in 2008, but it is probably closer to even today.  I would expect Lin Yishi 林益世 to try to run for re-election in this district.  It’s not a very good district for him, since he has spent his whole life working Kaoshiung County and half of this district is in the City, but the other obvious choices already have KMT incumbents.  If the KMT were trying to rig these districts, screwing over one of their better legislators is not exactly the best way to go about it.  In fact, this district makes me doubt that the CEC’s plan will make it through the legislative process without major surgery.

District 3 is the Greenest of any of these districts.  The DPP had a 52-43 advantage in the old #8, and that has been extended to a 53-42 lead in this new district.  Unlike District 2, this looks like classic gerrymandering.  Gerrymandering has two classic strategies, cracking and packing.  District 2 is a good example of cracking, in which an incumbent’s district is dismembered.  Rather, it would be a good example if Lin Yishi were a DPP legislator.  District 3 is a mild example of packing.  In the packing strategy, you sacrifice one district by putting the opponent’s strongest areas in it.  This gives you a better shot at winning the other districts.  I’m not insinuating anything immoral in this particular case.  If the old #8 had to be expanded, Dashu and Dashe are the obvious additions.  It just happens that they are also DPP strongholds, thereby making an already Green district even Greener.

District 4 comes partly from the old #1 and partly from the old #2.  This is the KMT’s best district in Kaohsiung, mostly due to the heavy military and mainlander presence in the Zuoying area.  I expect Huang Zhaoshun 黃昭順 to run for re-election in this district.  (I am assuming that she will (a) lose the mayoral election and (b) run for re-election instead of retiring or taking a sinecure in a state-owned enterprise or the like.)  Huang could, of course, choose to stay with the other half of her current district and run in District 2, but I expect she will prefer to stay in Zuoying with all the KMT votes.

The new District 5 is Sanmin District.  Sanmin was previously split between #2 and #3.  Politically, this area leans to the DPP, but the KMT won #3 last time.  I think this may be the district that sees two incumbents battle each other.  The KMT’s Hou Caifeng 侯彩鳳 has no other choice since her old seat was entirely based in Sanmin District last time.  DPP old District #2 incumbent Guan Biling 官碧玲 has to choose between following most of her old district into the new District 4 or competing in the new District 5.  Since District 4 is such a lousy district for a DPP candidate, I expect her to choose District 5.  That would make this one of the more explosive races in the next election.

The new District 6 is the only one that is completely unchanged.  This district is Fengshan City.  Fengshan leans slightly blue and has a fair number of mainlander votes.  Last time, in a battle between two 30ish women, the KMT barely won.  A rematch seems likely, since the winner has done almost nothing to distinguish herself and the loser had a very good personal reputation.

District 7 is very similar to the old #4.  This is another bit of evidence against the idea that the CEC is proactively gerrymandering districts in favor of the KMT.  The KMT incumbent, Li Fuxing 李復興, will get a slightly worse district.  In his old district, the KMT had a 1.5% advantage; the new district’s margin is only 0.4%.  He had better be working the district intensively because he faces a tough, tough election.

District 8 is similar to the old #5.  This is a DPP-leaning district with a DPP incumbent.  The redistricting plan doesn’t really change the partisan balance, and I would expect this to be one of the easier DPP victories in the next election.

As I said before, I’m not very confident that this plan will sail through the legislature unchanged.  Lin Yishi 林益世 gets the worst treatment of any politician, and he is a powerful KMT floor leader in the legislature.  If I were him, I would kill this plan unless the KMT agreed to put me high on the party list in the next election.  Even that might not work.  While many faction politicians are happy to get a “free” election (in every sense), they also like knowing that they can go back to the district in the future if the party leadership decides to move them down the list.  In addition, Lin Yishi has to consider his network.  He is a second-generation stalwart of the Kaohsiung County Red Faction, and his network might not be willing to see their champion abandon electoral politics or shift into new territory.

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