Taiwan needs a Green president(ial candidate)

My letter in the Taipei Times today suggests that Taiwan needs a capital “G” Green candidate in the presidential election, not merely one who waves a green flag. The text below is the original unedited version of the letter that I submitted to the Taipei Times.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is currently conducting a series of debates to select its candidate for the 2012 presidential election. Incumbent president Ma Ying-jeou is likely to be unopposed as the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) candidate.

Once the candidates are selected and the campaign gets underway the debate will be shaped by the agendas of the pan-blue and pan-green camps. Issues related to national security,  Taiwan’s relations with China and the economy are sure to be prominent in the campaign.

The Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan has thrust the issue of nuclear power into the spotlight. It is likely that the DPP’s candidate will promote a policy to phase out nuclear power in Taiwan. Whether they will actually be able to achieve this if they are elected to office is another question. Chen Shui-bian promised to stop construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant before he was elected in 2000. Ultimately construction of the plant went ahead though as Chen faced intense political opposition to his plan after he was elected. Continue reading

Combined elections might not be a good idea

An opinion piece by Hawang Shiow-duan (黃秀端) in the Taipei Times today points out some problems with the idea of combining the presidential and legislative elections. It begins by pointing out that combined elections are not the norm for country with semi-presidential systems of government.

Taiwan’s system of government is a semi-presidential one. Of the 55 countries with a similar system, Romania, Namibia and Peru are the only ones that have combined their parliamentary and presidential elections. The other 52 countries, including France, hold the elections on separate dates. One has to wonder whether the minority of countries that combine their elections have reached this situation without having given the issue deep thought. In Taiwan’s case, the attempt to combine the elections is certain to encounter several problems that will have to be resolved. Continue reading

Combined elections should be put to referendum

I had a letter published in the Taipei Times today. The letter suggests holding a referendum on combining the presidential and legislative elections. I believe this is one of several referendums that could be held in conjunction with the forthcoming presidential and legislative elections. The most important one would be a referendum to amend the birdcage provisions of the Referendum Law.

While the idea of combining the presidential and legislative elections (“KMT mulls idea of combined legislative, presidential election,” Jan. 18, page 3) is good in theory, the means of achieving it should respect democratic principles.

With the legislative election now less than a year away, it is not the time to start changing the rules. Furthermore, any changes in the dates of elections that involve extending term limits would seriously harm voters’ democratic rights. Continue reading

A new generation steps forward in the elections

DPP rally in Taichung

There has already been some excellent analyses of the Taiwan five cities election by Michael Turton, Nathan Batto and Bruce Jacobs. I just want to add a few points to the discussion.

While there was no clear victor in the elections, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have more to celebrate than the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). Although the DPP will be disappointed that they didn’t pick up an extra mayoral seat, they did boost their overall vote and showed that they have a very good chance of winning the presidential election in 2012. Continue reading

More election campaign posters

The five cities election (五都選舉) will be held on Saturday 27 November. As a follow up to my previous post on election campaign posters in Taichung I want to post a few more photos that I have taken over the past few months in various places. More photos can also be found in the “Five Cities” Election Campaign Posters gallery at my Taiwan photo gallery site.

Taichung goes global - Hu poster

Jason Hu (胡志強), Taichung Mayor and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate for Mayor of Greater Taichung, is using the slogan “Taichung goes global.” I’m not sure which train he’s riding. It’s definitely not the Taichung MRT!

Poster for Su Jia-chyuan in Taichung

Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) candidate for Mayor of Greater Taichung, is putting out the message that he can do things that Jason Hu has failed to do. Continue reading

DPP beats KMT in social media campaign

Screenshot of DPP website

In the lead up to the local elections in 2010 I wrote a post about the use of social media by politicians in Taiwan. I noted how the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was far more active online than its counterpart, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

Screenshot of KMT website

I have gathered some data about the use of social media by the mayoral candidates in the five cities election (五都選舉) taking place on 27 November. All candidates are using several forms of online communication as part of their campaign. This includes websites, blogs, Plurk, YouTube, flickr and Facebook. Links to these sites are clearly shown on the front page of the KMT and DPP websites. This is shown in the two screenshots in this post.  Continue reading