catching up



It’s been a while since I have written anything on this blog because (a) I’ve got other stuff to do and (b) not much is happening in the world of elections right now.  In the past two and a half month, the major election related news has been about the very early presidential race.  Apparently President Ma is going to run for re-election.  Shocker.  It looks like Speaker Wang will remain Speaker Wang.  The KMT’s “rule” that people on the party list can only serve two terms may not be written in stone.  And Premier Wu is still rumored to be the most likely Vice Presidential candidate.  None of this is much of a surprise.  (Frozen Garlic’s mad genius suggestion: Ma should choose CEC Chair and former Chiayi City Mayor Chang Po-ya as his running mate.  It will never happen, but it would be genius.)

On the DPP side, there also hasn’t been anything that significant.  Annette Lu has announced her candidacy to a resounding yawn.  The race is between Su and Tsai, something we have been aware of for over a year.  Tsai is probably ahead now, but I think she damaged herself by overplaying her hand in the battle for the nominations process.  The DPP will have its presidential nomination in late April. (Why the rush?  The election isn’t for another 11 months.  Of course, as the leader, Tsai wants this decision made as soon as possible before anything happens to change the race.)  Tsai also got her way in the legislative nominations.  She wanted the district nominations to be decided by telephone survey, with no party member voting component, and she wanted the party chair (herself!) to completely decide the party list.  The latter, especially, is where I think she went a bit too far.  Then, a couple of weeks ago, the DPP announced that it would forgo any nomination process in “difficult” districts, and the party would simply draft candidates for these districts.  The problem is that their definition of “difficult” is so broad that it encompasses 40 of the 73 districts.  In some of these, the DPP should probably be favored to win.  This is ridiculous and simply a clear power grab.  So much for the institutionalization of the rules of competition.

Unlike last year, we haven’t heard a whole lot about the by-elections.  There is a good reason for this.  Unlike last year, when the DPP was winning amazing victories on the KMT’s turf, this year’s contests are being fought on DPP turf and should be fairly easy victories for the DPP.

One of the races is in Tainan City.  This is the KMT’s strongest district in all of Tainan.  In the 2008 KMT wave, the DPP was barely able to win this race even with a strong candidate.  In this election cycle, with things swinging toward the DPP and in a by-election (which seems to play to the DPP’s strengths), it shouldn’t be as close.  Moreover, the DPP has a clear edge in candidates.  The DPP candidate is the former mayor, Hsu Tain-tsair 許添財, while the KMT is running an incumbent party list legislator, Chen Shu-huey 陳淑慧.  The KMT made a big deal about the fact that it’s preferred two candidates both declined to run in this race.  Both were forced out of their minor cabinet positions, as party leaders (esp King Pu-tsung 金溥聰) grumbled that the soldiers the party had spent the last few years cultivating refused to fight when the party needed them.  In their defense, it isn’t really Wang Yu-ting’s 王昱婷 district, and Kao Su-po’s 高思博 family (he is Eric Chu’s 朱立倫 brother-in-law) just finished a grueling campaign.  I wouldn’t have run either if I were them.  So instead, the KMT turned to Chen Shu-huey, who is currently on the party list and the wife of former legislator and mayoral candidate Lin Nan-sheng 林南生.  She should be a competent candidate, though I doubt Lin still has as much support as he enjoyed at his apex about 15 years ago.  On the other hand, this is the first time an incumbent party list legislator has run in a district by-election, and one can imagine that this makes for an awkward argument.  Vote for me, though win or lose, I’ll stay in the legislature.  Really, you need to vote for me so that the next person on the party list can win office.  So the choice is between having one more representative from Tainan and one more representative from … Yunlin (where the next person on the party list is from, I think).

In Kaohsiung, the race is between the DPP’s Lin Tai-hua 林岱華, a former two-term legislator and Hsu Ching-huang 徐慶煌, the son of former DPP legislator Hsu Chih-ming 徐志明.  The father was an old-time member of the Kaohsiung County Black Faction.  The Black Faction was led by the Yu family, and it occupied a strange position between opposition politics and good old-fashioned money politics.  I don’t know how closely the son hews to the father’s political style, but it wasn’t all that uncommon for Black Faction politicians to change sides.  Anyway, Hsu has been nominated by the KMT.  Apparently they think their best shot is with a politician who seems to have a foot in the other camp.  In this district, it may well be.  For what it’s worth, Hsu did win about 13000 votes as an independent in 2008.  That’s not nothing, but I don’t think this election is about him.  This district clearly leans to the green camp, and if they close ranks and vote along party lines, they should win easily.  With a compelling candidate in Lin, I really don’t think this race should be close.

 

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8 Responses to “catching up”

  1. Rust Says:

    Nice to see you posting again! Indeed electorally there isn’t much going on, but a couple of things do interest me & maybe you can share your wisdom on these particulars.

    First off is the question of whether the legislative election should be held simultaneously with the presidential election; is it more likely to be held together or not? If so, will it benefit the kmt, or DPP?

    Secondly is the rumours that Song & the PFP plans to participate in the legislative election independently, instead of as part of the kmt coalition. Just rumours, but is it possible? If so, I imagine some degree of impact to the kmt. What is your say?

    Hope I am not bombarding you with too much questions. Once again I am happy to see you posting again.

  2. Carlos Says:

    We missed you! Especially with all the internal DPP stuff going on. Glad to have you back!

  3. Okami Says:

    Nice to see you back, a couple questions though:

    1. Is Tsai really being heavy-handed or is she just trying to impose order on a chaotic situation? I really don;t know.

    2. What about Chen Chu(Kaoshiung mayor) running for president?

  4. frozengarlic Says:

    I keep waiting to hear when the legislative elections will be. As we get closer to 2012 without any movement, it becomes increasingly likely that they will be held separately. Who would that benefit? I’m not sure. You could make an argument either way. My best guess is that it is good for the KMT because it separates the legislative candidates somewhat from Ma. Even if Ma wins re-election, it looks like it will be a worse-than-usual performance. But that’s just a guess.

    All of the small parties are weighing their options. Remember that they have to reach a 5% threshold to win any list seats. All of them have made it over that threshold in the past, but none did in 2008. However, let’s also remember that there are only 34 list seats. If you win 6-7% of the vote, you qualify to win seats, but you only win 2 (or maybe if everything goes exactly right you win 3). What can you do with 2 seats? Not much. In the German system with 600 seats and a compensatory mechanism between the two tiers, 6% will get you 36 seats. With that many people, you can put people on different committees, offer amendments, shout down a speaker, and so on. With 2, you can really only join the caucus of a big party.

    I don’t think Chen Chu is considered a presidential candidate this year. She might be considered for VP, esp on the Su ticket. By 2016, she might be a presidential candidate, though I think she has an uphill climb.

    Tsai is being heavy-handed. The DPP has managed just fine in more chaotic situations in the past. They have a perfectly manageable process to sort out nominations if they wish to use it. This is a power grab, and a clumsy one at that.

  5. Echo Says:

    I am glad to see you post again, Garlic. However, your comment on Tsai is a bias with distorted facts. I wonder if you really understand at all what’s going on on the green side. If you really want to “catching up,” do catch up, pls.

  6. Michael Turton Says:

    Where’s your glaser refutation?

    • frozengarlic Says:

      As a political scientist, I don’t have one. I’m not trained in IR. As a supporter of democracy (as I understand Realism, the internal processes of government are irrelevant), my response alternates between indifference (my usual response to ideas that I consider fundamentally flawed) and profanity-laced tirades. Neither of those are much fun to type out.

  7. Laymen Says:

    “Tsai also got her way in the legislative nominations. She wanted the district nominations to be decided by telephone survey, with no party member voting component, and she wanted the party chair (herself!) to completely decide the party list. The latter, especially, is where I think she went a bit too far. Then, a couple of weeks ago, the DPP announced that it would forgo any nomination process in “difficult” districts, and the party would simply draft candidates for these districts. The problem is that their definition of “difficult” is so broad that it encompasses 40 of the 73 districts. In some of these, the DPP should probably be favored to win. This is ridiculous and simply a clear power grab. So much for the institutionalization of the rules of competition.”

    This part is pretty much misleading. Tsai was a supporter of member voting component; the New Wave and Hsieh put her in charge because they couldn’t reacg consensus so went for the second-best solution-putting someone they can trust (Tsai) in charge, and even Su nodded to that. Some districts are defined “difficult” due to low voting shares of DPP in last eletction. Again, New Wave, Hsieh and even Su agreed to that. Please understand more about DPP’s decision making process before making your comments public

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