By Trista di Genova
The Wild East
Tomorrow’s Newspaper Today: Some early election returns in 5-city elections in Taiwan
Highlights:Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) takes Tainan and Kaohsiung.
Both parties held on to their strongholds. DPP didn’t do well in the industrialized North, a traditional KMT stronghold; but they held their own in the DPP-held South.
The DPP didn’t do poorly enough not to be able to still position themselves well in the next presidential race in 2012; that is, if they field viable candidates against the KMT’s current President Ma Ying-jeou. Even though both DPP and KMT are “both capitalist liners,” in the words of one political observer, the DPP is seen as more responsive to social movements and tend more to ‘shake things up a bit’ instead of appeasement with China.
This is first election in which the demarcation of New Taipei City (XinBei Shi) has taken effect, a measure that combines both Taipei City and Taipei County governments, and other city and county governments, overall centralizing Taiwan’s political system.
The PFP (People First Party) ran a few candidates; it’s still unclear how well they did.
The DPP’s popular Chen Chu (52%) would have won her Kaohsiung mayorship by even more of a landslide if a fellow DPP member hadn’t “made an ugly show of challenging her”, when he could have just waited his turn to run next time after the term limit’s up, a move considered by one observer to be at the behest of the KMT. The bid succeeded only in splitting the vote a bit. She was one of the “Kaohsiung Eight,” prominent dissidents arrested after the Kaohsiung Incident in 1979. She spent six years in jail during the martial law period in Taiwan.
Chen Chu formerly headed the Labor Department under the Chen Administration, and may be seen as a potential viable presidential candidate for the ‘Greens’ in 2012.
Jason Hu, a popular KMT Mayor of Taichung (central Taiwan), held on easily to his seat.
Tsai Ing-wen fell behind in a Xinbei City mayor race after a strong showing; her first run for elected office. She is current chairperson of the DPP and served as vice premier under the Chen Administration.
Chen Shui-bian’s son Chen Chih-chung ran for Kaohsiung’s Xiaogang City Council in the South, as an independent candidate, and was ahead in the race at press time.
Su Chen-chang lost his race for mayor of Taipei against current mayor Hau Long-bing. Su was once in the running for the DPP nomination for presidential candidate (Frank Hsieh won the nomination but lost the race against Ma): “I would have thought he’d done better”, said one pundit.
Thanks to Linda Arrigoby