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More than politics, Taiwan votes for democracy in recent election

Posted: Thursday, January 16, 2020. 10:19 pm CST.

The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.

By Micah Goodin: Earlier this month the Republic of China (Taiwan) held its 15th presidential election and its 10th Legislative Yuan election.

As was previously reported, the victor was Democratic Party Progressive (DPP) incumbent, Tsai Ing-wen.

With 8.1 million votes or 57.1% of the voters list, she secured her second term. When the final votes were tallied close to 3 million votes separated her and Kuomintang (KMT) candidate, Han Kuo-yu.

As a young politician intrigued by international politics, I closely monitor election trends at the domestic, regional and international level.

For various reasons this election was attractive to me and after careful analysis and research I have formulated five key arguments in an effort to explain why the DPP won and the KMT lost.

  1.     “Haste makes Waste” – In Belize we have seen so many politicians get elected for a post and in the blink of an eye, seek election for another post without fulfilling their mandate. The KMT candidate attempted that strategy employed by various Belizean politicians but it didn’t go as he planned it. In 2018 he was elected Mayor of the second largest metropolis in Taiwan but before even fulfilling his novel promises, 6 months later he launched his bid for presidency, a move which was rejected by the Taiwanese public.
  2.     “United we stand, divided we fall”- From various researches that I have conducted I note that there was a divide in the KMT heading into the last election. Various groups inside the party (traditionalist, elite class, knowledge class, etc) distanced themselves from their presidential candidate and his inner circle. As we have seen in Belizean politics, a party divided cannot mobilize to win an election.

    3.      To China with love – The Taiwanese people have in place what is called the “status quo.” In essence, they are comfortable not having determined independence of mainland China or unification with that communist state. Yet, the KMT candidate did not reflect that balance in his campaign messaging; in fact he was pro-China at heart. His rhetoric of “One China” was clearly rejected at the polls.

  3.     No to communism – The Taiwanese people after their experience with democracy have come to enjoy their civil liberties. They have come to appreciate the rule of law and the other ideals of democracy. And they will never surrender the principles of democracy. I believe that the Hong Kong protests have only renewed their commitment to democracy and so anything that deviates, at least on the surface, such as the KMT
    candidate is a cause of suspicion to the extent that the voter turnout of 74.9 % was the highest since 2008.
  4.     Campaign financing – Imagine a Belizean politician accepting campaign finances from the Guatemalan government? Those same emotions stirred in the veins of Taiwanese nationals who are of the view that the KMT candidate campaign was funded by mainland China. It is suspected that his funding goes back to the 2018 Mayoral election. In that election he outspent his opponent and spent more than the average for most municipal races. How else would he have won in a DPP stronghold?


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