Thursday, January 05, 2012

Rumors, scandal and the outcome of Taiwan 2012

In a presidential campaign that can only be described as underwhelming, the scandals have failed to convince voters to change their longstanding political preferences

The campaigns for the January 14 presidential and legislative elections in Taiwan will be remembered mostly for the allegations and counter-allegations made by the main contestants in the race rather than their policy platforms. It would therefore be logical to assume that the headline-grabbing scandals will be determinant factors in voting decision.

They will not. Despite claims, which first emerged in Next Magazine and have since been picked up by international media, that the National Security Council ordered the national security apparatus to spy on President Ma Ying-jeou’s opponents in the election, there is little evidence that such allegations have had any impact on expected voting patterns. This also appears to be the case with repeated allegations that cabinet officials have violated political neutrality by supporting Ma.

The same applies to the charges by Ma’s Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) that Tsai Ing-wen, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate, illegally profiteered from her role in Yu Chang Biologics Co when she was vice premier. In both cases (there were other, lesser ones), documents have been brought forth that appear to support the claims advanced by the accusers.

My article, published today on the University of Nottingham’s Bullets & Ballots Web site, continues here.

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