Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Dissatisfaction with Taiwan president behind DPP by-election victories: DPP

Opposition wins 3 out of 4 seats and makes inroads into supposed KMT stronghold

Dissatisfaction with Taiwan president behind DPP by-election victories: DPP

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Dissatisfaction with the policies of President Ma Ying-jeou and his Kuomintang government were the main reason for the party’s triple defeat in legislative by-elections, the opposition winners said Sunday.
The opposition Democratic Progressive Party won three of the four seats Saturday, after winning all three in January and performing well in the county and city elections in December. The by-elections became necessary after four lawmakers were elected county magistrate.
“Citizens are dissatisfied with government policies and with life,” said Peng Shao-chin, the DPP candidate who won a seat in Hsinchu County, traditionally a KMT stronghold.
The DPP’s Huang Jen-shu also won a hard-fought battle in the Chungli area of Taoyuan County, while former Chiayi County Magistrate Chen Ming-wen won by a decisive margin in his native region.
The DPP only lost in Hualien County, but its candidate Bikhim Hsiao nevertheless received 33,000 votes against 39,000 for KMT candidate Wang Ting-sheng in an area widely regarded as one of the least opposition-friendly in Taiwan.
In Taoyuan, Huang said the KMT lost because it “parachuted” an outsider, former lawmaker Chen Shueh-saint, into the election constituency. Chen blamed his defeat on the division within the KMT camp, as 8,000 votes went to two breakaway candidates. The ruling party chose Chen as its candidate even though he finished third among KMT hopefuls in opinion polls. In the election, Huang received 45,000 votes against 42,000 for Chen.
In Chiayi, Chen Ming-wen crushed KMT candidate Lin Te-jui by a lead of more than 30,000 votes. Chen served as county magistrate for the full eight years, and DPP lawmaker Chang Hwa-kuan was elected to his position last December.
KMT officials in Hsinchu County blamed their defeat to Peng on divisions between ruling party factions which came to the surface during the December county elections, when the KMT candidate only narrowly beat a candidate backed by the previous magistrate and Peng.
Opposition chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said the party would continue to do its best to show it contained major government talent. Resent opinion polls have shown public confidence in Tsai standing at 46 percent, while Ma only enjoyed a 29 percent rating.
The defeat “is a major warning, we have to apologize to our supporters,” Ma told reporters, while emphasizing the need for continued reform within the ruling party. The third major defeat in a row dealt a heavy blow to Ma, who also serves as KMT chairman, and to his recent appointment as party secretary-general, King Pu-tsung.
KMT lawmaker Lo Shu-lei said the defeat was the result of government policies, calling for a Cabinet reshuffle.
In the wake of the DPP victory, speculation increased that former Premier Su Tseng-chang would challenge Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin in the year-end elections, instead of earlier reports that he was more likely to run for mayor of Xinbei or “New Taipei City,” the upgraded successor to Taipei County.
Media reports said Su was likely to announce his decision on Tuesday. The former premier, who was also elected twice as Taipei County Magistrate, is the frontrunner in most polls pitting him against any KMT opponent.
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin said he was prepared to face Su. The KMT has not officially announced a choice of candidate yet, but Hau is widely believed to run for a second term.
Tsai called on supporters to give Su more time and space to consider his future. She would not say whether she thought of running in the year-end elections herself. The media have often tipped her as a candidate for the area Su does not run in.
Voters will choose the chief executives in five of the most populated areas in Taiwan. Apart from Taipei and Xinbei, the newly merged areas of Kaohsiung, Taichung and Tainan will also see elections. The choice of candidates is not expected to be finalized until May.
Names that have been banded about frequently include Vice Premier Eric Liluan Chu for Xinbei and Taichung Mayor Jason Hu for the newly merged Greater Taichung area on the KMT side, and former Premier Frank Hsieh and DPP Secretary General Su Jia-chyuan for the opposition.