Taiwan - 2016 Elections
Just over three out of every four people polled believed the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) would win the presidency in 2016, according to a poll released 24 December 2014 by a think tank headed by Taiwan independence supporters. The opinion poll by Taiwan Brain Trust, an organization founded by pro-independence activist and former presidential advisor Ku Kuan-min, showed 75.6 percent of respondents believed DPP was on course to take the helm of the country in the 2016 election.
As for the most likely DPP presidential candidate in 2016, 44.9 percent of respondents named DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen, 20.6 percent said Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te, 8.8 percent favored Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu, and 8.6 percent for former DPP chairman Su Tseng-chang. As to the rival from the Kuomintang (KMT), 53.3 percent believed it will be New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu, 9.4 percent named outgoing Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin, 8.3 percent tipped outgoing Taichung Mayor Jason Hu, and 7.5 percent said current Vice President Wu Den-yih.
An 01 February 2015 survey on local politicians' likeability shed light on possible developments leading to the 2016 presidential election. In terms of likeability, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu garnered 72.5 percent, beating all other major political figures. Independent Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, who has deep ties with the DPP camp, was in second place with 71 percent. Tainan Mayor William Lai of the KMT, came in third with 65.3 percent. The speaker of the Legislature, Wang Jin-pyng from the Kuomintang, obtained 63.6 percent to become number four, while New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu, who has just assumed the top post of the ruling party, was one place behind with 62.1 percent.
The three names mentioned most often for the KMT awee Vice President Wu Den-yih, Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng and KMT Chairman and New Taipei Mayor Eric Liluan Chu. DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen had become the undisputed center of power in the opposition party. She is a shoo-in to win the DPP's presidential nomination for the 2016 race.
Legislative Yuan Vice President Hung Hsiu-chu was officially named as the ruling Kuomintang’s 2016 ROC presidential candidate July 19 in Taipei City. When Taiwan’s ruling Nationalist Party – also known as the Kuomintang, or KMT -- nominated Hung Hsiu-chu as its candidate for president, she was already behind in opinion surveys. The KMT had lost support in 2014 as youth groups protested the government’s economic ties with China.
A third candidate, James Soong, was expected to erode her already fragile support. Soong, who is 73 years old, was a provincial governor and director-general of the Government Information Office before 2000. He ran for president in 2000 and 2012. Like Hung, he advocates closer ties between Taiwan and China. The Nationalists feared that Soong with his similar views on China will take away votes.
Long-time political activist Shih Ming-te announced 21 May 2015 his presidential bid, saying that he aimed to bring about cross-strait reconciliation and implement social justice, while lashing out at “conventional” politicians who he said had betrayed the public. The former DPP Chairman and democracy activist switched sides and went to work for the KMT. Shih Ming-te was imprisoned 1962-1977 and 1980-1990 under the Guomindang, and since 2006 led protests against Chen Shui-Bian.
The results of a poll commissioned by the Taiwan Competitiveness Forum and released 11 August 2015 showed the race's front-runner, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen, with 36 percent support, ahead of Hung's 26.9 percent and Soong's 15.5 percent.
On 17 October 2015 Eric Chu, chairman of the ruling Kuomintang, was selected as the party's new presidential candidate, during a special meeting of the KMT congress. Chu replaced Hung Hsiu-chu, whose candidacy was revoked earlier in the day by the congress. The KMT's decision to replace Hung came three months after she was selected as its candidate for the presidential election.
On November 17, 2015 the front-runner for Taiwan’s 2016 presidential election, opposition candidate Tsai Ing-wen, named prominent epidemiologist Chen Chien-jen as her running mate. In her announcement Monday, Tsai praised Chen, who was Taiwan’s health minister from 2003 to 2005, for leading the battle against the 2003 SARS outbreak. Eric Chu, the presidential candidate of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), ws widely expected to announce former Labor Affairs Minister Wang Ju-hsuan as his running mate.
The legislative election was initially scheduled for January 2016, and the presidential elections for March 2016. The presidential and legislative elections were later scheduled to be held concurrently Jan. 16, 2016, nationwide. A loss for the Nationalists would raise tensions again between Taiwan and China. The top priority of Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party will be to ensure a smooth transition of cross-Taiwan Strait relations.
One commentator for Taiwan’s Formosa TV said Taiwanese are more concerned about "minzhu," or democracy, than "minzu" or ethnic identity. The economy was a leading election issue as people demand higher incomes, seek more job opportunities and press other issues related to their personal pocketbooks. Voters wanted to see how a change in party works out because the current Nationalist Party performed poorly over the past eight years.
The election commission said that as of 8:30 PM local time 16 January 2016, Tsai had more than 6.58 million votes, or 56.1 percent - up from the 45.63 percent she garnered in 2012, while Chu had 3.61 million, or 31.0 percent. James Soong gathered 12.8 percent.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won a legislative majority in yesterday’s election, securing 68 seats in the 113-seat legislature. With its ally the New Power Party (NPP) winning five legislative seats, the DPP is expected to enjoy unrestricted power in the parliament. The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which held 64 legislative seats before the election, hoped to secure at least 38 seats to prevent the majority party or alliance to motion for a recall of the president, which can be done with a two-thirds majority in the legislature. The DPP got what it wanted, but not the KMT. The Taiwan Solidarity Union, which had three seats in the 2012 legislature, failed to cross the 5 percent threshold this time.
The People First Party’s (PFP) crossed the threshold, a coat-tail effect of its party chairman and presidential candidate James Soong. His bid, which was his third, was said to be a ploy to campaign for party votes. It remains to be seen how the PFP would retain its so-called “non-blue, non-green and middle way” in a pan-green parliament. The New Party, which received tacit support from Deputy Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu of the KMT and other KMT members dissatisfied with the party’s at-large legislative candidate list, won more than 4 percent of party votes, compared to 1.49 percent of the votes in 2012.
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