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Taiwan Elections LQD

by Metatone Sat Jan 19th, 2008 at 09:44:41 AM EST

BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | Taiwan nationalists in huge win (12 January 2008)

Taiwan nationalists in huge win
Taiwan's opposition nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) party has won a landslide victory in parliamentary polls, official results show.

The KMT, which wants closer ties with China, secured 72% of the seats in the 113-seat chamber, beating President Chen Shui-bian's party, the DPP.

The independence-leaning president said he was "shamed", resigning as chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party.

The elections are seen as a barometer for the presidential poll on 22 March.

China regards Taiwan as a renegade province that should be reunified.

Nevada schmevada - Diary rescue by Migeru

I haven't had a lot of contact with people in/from Taiwan over the last 6 months or so, so I don't feel qualified to comment in depth.

An earlier BBC Story suggests there is a lot of uncertainty whether this result will push the KMT candidate to victory in the presidential election or inspire a backlash in favour of the DPP.

The system give the president wide ranging powers around select the premier, forcing legislation through committee channels and the ability to dissolve parliament. As such, most eyes are on that upcoming (March 22nd) election.

I have no real understanding of the KMT position at this moment, they "want closer ties with China" (and there is heavy suspicion that they are funded largely from the mainland) but I don't know if they have any policy proposals likely to cause a backlash in either the diplomatic or domestic arenas.

I know nothing of Taiwan at all. What is the difference between KMT and DPP in terms of politics - is the over-riding issue how they think Taiwan should be linked to China?

What does it mean for Taiwan for China to be trying to prevent them from joining the UN?

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Jan 12th, 2008 at 01:33:43 PM EST
There is always the risk of oversimplifying, as outsiders, but the domestic policies of the KMT and DPP do not appear to be very far apart. Relations with China do seem to be the central difference.

There's some irony in that the KMT originally wanted to rule China but were driven out by the Communists, so they fled to Taiwan and established a one-party state there. The DPP finds core support from the indigenous island population who resent the KMT and mainland influence, along with those who don't want to join China for other reasons. The modern KMT is owned lock stock and barrel from Beijing and is now an agent to bring Taiwan under central Party rule.

The DPP really wants Taiwan to be an independent country and one aspect of that is formal recognition from the UN. China is desperate to prevent it, because China wants to assimilate Taiwan as a province. It's very unlikely that Taiwan will be recognised at this time.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Jan 12th, 2008 at 01:44:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is the election system? If not proportional, what are the actual voter percentages?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Jan 12th, 2008 at 02:00:29 PM EST
Nevermind. Republic of China legislative election, 2008 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the first time in the history of Taiwan, most members of the Legislative Yuan were to be elected from single-member districts: 73 of the 113 members were chosen in such districts by first-past-the-post. Parallel to the single member constituencies, 34 seats under the Additional Member System was elected in one national district by party-list proportional representation. For these seats, only political parties whose votes exceed a 5 % threshold were eligible for the allocation. Six further seats were reserved for Taiwanese aborigines. Therefore, each elector had two ballots under parallel voting.

If this new system was designed by the DPP, that was a mighty own goal.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Jan 12th, 2008 at 02:02:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...and further to the official site, I find:

The 7th Election of Legislators

# Party Ballots cast Percentage of party votes in phase 1 Percentage of party votes in phase 2
10 Kuomintang 5,010,801 51.2322% 58.1238%
5 Democratic Progressive Party 3,610,106 36.9110% 41.8762%
6 Chinese New Party 386,660 3.9533% 0.0000%
3 Taiwan Solidarity Union 344,887 3.5262% 0.0000%

(Phase 2 being the elimination of parties under 5%)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Jan 12th, 2008 at 02:05:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Still a crushing defeat.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Jan 12th, 2008 at 02:06:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I've mentioned before, this is strategically very serious for the West. Somewhere norht of 95% of the world's computer chips are manufactured in Taiwan, including military standard and custom design chips. Having a status of a US-client state has previously enabled them to capture this market without any ripples of concern, but if China were to take control of this globally militarily-vital industry then we should expect sparks to fly. The US simply could not allow it.

Of course, we might question US industrial policy that allowed their militarily vital infrastructure to become so exposed, but that's a question for another day. Right now the military political significance of this cannot be overstated.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jan 13th, 2008 at 08:28:23 AM EST
I have a vague recollection of the DPP coming to power only in the last election, with lots of speculation on tense times ahead.

While Kuomintang does not want to declare independence, is there really anything that tells us that they will unite with China?

While freely admitting that I have not kept track on this situation, to me it looks more like two very similar parties that each wants to rule Taiwan. Their constituencies has differing opinions on what Taiwan is, but the parties has no incentive to rock the boat as the current situation is profitable to party leadership. So I expect nothing at all to happen.

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by A swedish kind of death on Sun Jan 13th, 2008 at 06:20:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Since this diary has been promoted, I guess I should answer this.

The problem is, I have no hard evidence, I have not been over there for quite a while now and the relationship between Beijing and the KMT, along with the psychology of the KMT leadership is not well documented in public.

The text of the official agreement between the KMT and Beijing is quite short and relatively non-inflammatory.

However, since that agreement, KMT party coffers have been swelled quite considerably and the mention of potential changes to the maritime treaties might well, in itself, be enough to spark worries from the Americans. Of course, the Chinese may have the ability to keep the Americans quiet by threatening the dollar, so maybe it is moot. But otherwise, it could be "interesting times."

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Jan 19th, 2008 at 10:09:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The KMT and the Chinese Communist Party were of course mortal enemies at one point, so it is very interesting to see you say that the KMT is now owned by Beijing! I for one would be interested to hear more on this aspect.

As an aside, there used to be a lot of KMT imagery here in Hong Kong before the handover in 1997, especially at the time of the 'Double Ten' festival on 10 October ... bridges festooned in KMT flags etc. ... of course that all went straight down the toilet when HK was returned to the PRC. In fact that is the single most obvious restriction on expression I can think of here, with everything else remaining pretty much the same as before.

by wing26 on Mon Jan 14th, 2008 at 03:34:24 AM EST

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