Taiwan, a Small Victory in the 'Anti-Corruption' Campaign

  Previous  |  Next  

Thursday February 16, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

Just recently in Huatan Township in Changhua County, Taiwan, Lee Cheng-chi of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the mayoral by-election. For those wondering what by-elections are; they are held when an incumbent vacates the office for a variety of reasons--one of the most common being that he was convicted of corruption.

I know that president Ma Ying-jeou of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) likes to say that he is anti-corruption and that he is going to root it out, but there is a big difference between talking the talk and walking the walk. For example in the past four years some 9--10 KMT legislators lost their positions because of corruption and vote-buying. Interestingly enough they ran again in the most recent elections and 7 out of 9 won their seats back. Did Ma the talker campaign against his fellow convicted KMT legislators? Not a chance, Ma only talks the talk.

But in Huatan which has had 3 by-elections in the past 2 years due to vote-buying, Lee of the DPP ran on a platform of "How many by-elections do we need?" A good slogan and to the point. For Taiwan, Lee won; hopefully this will be the start of a new trend.