Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Final Countdown

* With 48 hours left before Taiwanese voters go to the polls, the "9-in-1" local elections on November 29 are heating up.

* The election results may change the political landscape of the island, and they can serve as a preliminary indicator of how the two leading political parties--the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)--will fare going into the 2016 presidential campaign, scheduled for March 2016. The winning party will have, at least, the momentum.

* Among the 22 cities and counties, six remain in the "too-close-to-call" categories--Taipei City, Taichung City, Changhua County, Yunlin County, Chiayi City, and Penghu County. The DPP is expected to make considerable gains amidst poor government performance.

* The biggest "prize" in the weekend elections is the mayoral contests in Taipei and Taichung. Since the KMT currently holds both of these seats, the pressure is on the ruling party to keep them in the Blue camp.

* Since these elections are local in nature, few would anticipate any "spillover" effect onto the economy or cross-Strait relations. While Beijing would like to continue "city-to-city" exchanges no matter who wins, the "1992 consensus" will remain a prerequisite. On the other hand, no major breakthroughs are expected either, especially if the DPP emerges victoriously Saturday night.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Taiwan's "9-in-1" local elections on November 29-Part II

l  KMT’s strategy in the next 14 days:
(1)  “Rejuvenate” the rank-and-file with policy incentives, e.g. infrastructure upgrading and improved government retirees' benefits;
(2)  Turn the campaign into a “Blue vs. Green” showdown; and
(3)  Emphasize the possible “domino effect” on 2016 presidential race if the KMT loses on November 29.

l DPP’s strategy in the next 14 days:
(1)   Stay away from a “Blue vs. Green” showdown, particularly in Taipei, and focus on “quality-of-life” issues, e.g. education, affordable housing and food safety;
(2)   Keep hitting the KMT where it hurts the most: lack of leadership, poor governability, economic malaise, cross-Strait stalemate and corruption; and
(3)   Ma and his administrative team are “out of touch” with the ordinary people.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Taiwan's “9-in-1” local elections on November 29

l  Including city mayors, county magistrates, council seats, township administrators, town representatives, borough chiefs, district leaders, village heads, and village liaisons, Taiwan will hold the first-ever “9-in-1” elections on November 29. With approximately over 18 million eligible voters, turnout is expected in the 65-75% range, weather permitting. Roughly 11,130 officials, in 22 cities and counties, will be popularly elected on that day.

l  Mayoral elections at the six Direct Municipalities—Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung—have attracted the most attention. Currently the KMT has four of the six seats, but ruling party is struggling in Taipei and Taichung. The results from these two races will determine which party—KMT or DPP—wins the yearend contest.