a few thoughts on the by-election

As expected, the DPP won both seats rather easily.  This wasn’t a surprise.  The KMT couldn’t win either one of them in 2008 in the midst of a huge KMT wave and with incumbents in both races.  Popular opinion has since shifted dramatically away from the KMT, they had clearly inferior candidates running this time, and by-elections (at least in these couple of years) seem to play overwhelmingly to the DPP’s strengths.  But I still have a few thoughts rolling around my head.


The KMT didn’t even seem to try.  Their best candidates didn’t run.  We all know about how their top two choices declined to run in Tainan.  In Kaohsiung, they couldn’t even find a serious KMT member to run.  Instead they went for a former DPP member’s son who brought very little to the table.  The top party leaders also didn’t seem interested in sticking their necks out.  One of the big papers had photos of the last night’s events on its front page.  All five of the DPP’s top leaders were out on the hustings.  The KMT was represented by Vice President Siew 蕭萬長 and Vice Speaker Tseng 曾永權.  Ma 馬英九 and Wu 吳敦義 made a few perfunctory appearances, but for the most part it appeared as if they did not want to be associated with the impending debacle.  After the election, the KMT seemed shocked that the turnout had been so low.  More and more, I am convinced that turnout is a function of excitement, not grassroots organization.  The KMT seems to think the opposite is true.  The KMT is replacing its local party chairs for failing to mobilize voters.  I think the fault lies with the top leadership who effectively told their supporters not to bother since there was no chance of winning.


Given the KMT’s miserable performance, I wonder if the biggest loser isn’t actually Hsu Tain-tsair 許添財.  Hsu won the Tainan seat with 61% of the vote.  I wonder if that isn’t, in fact, underwhelming.  (Yes, the other half of me thinks it is a bit ridiculous to call a 60% victory a sign of weakness.)  A DPP city council member associated with Mayor Lai 賴清德 has already announce that he will challenge Hsu in the primary.  Actually, he announced this before the voting was held.  Hsu really could have used a crushing victory to convince his rivals that any fight was hopeless.  He didn’t get it.  In fact, compared to Lin Tai-hua’s 林岱華 70% landslide, Hsu’s victory makes him look surprisingly vulnerable.


My nominee for the biggest winner of this whole thing might also be something of a surprise: KMT legislator Chiang Ling-chun 江玲君.  Chiang represents the Fengshan City district.  In 2008, she barely beat Lin Tai-hua.  She hasn’t been the most visible member of the legislature over the past three years, and I wouldn’t be too optimistic about her chances in a rematch with Lin.  However, Lin is now out of the picture, safely ensconced in another district.  Chiang will face a stiff challenge from someone, but her opponent will probably be significantly less intimidating than Lin would have been.


2 Responses to “a few thoughts on the by-election”

  1. Tommy Says:

    Interesting choices on the biggest winner and loser. However, I would note that something must be said for the message of a Hsu win, even one that was “only” with 61 percent of the vote. His win shows that his decision to not run for Tainan City Mayor was wise. The Hsu win is therefore a big win for the DPP because it shows that those who can manage to swallow their ambition in service to the greater good in the short term might earn the support they need to stay in the political ring.

  2. Echo Says:

    One thing special about the legislator by-election in Tainan was that KMT’s candidate, 陳淑慧, is a current legislator at-large.

    If she got elected, she will “shift” from the at-large legislator to elected legislator. If she loses, she will remain the at-large legislator. No matter what, she is the legislator of KMT.

    So, wtf is this election for the KMT ? The KMT has very slim chance of winning, alright, but sending a legislator to campaign for yet another legislator seat ? Why bother casting the vote ?

    Taking this (that is, the opponents basically gave up) into account, Hus won 61%. I think that’s probably an underwhelming like Garlic said.

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