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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
04TAIPEI3919
2004-12-09 10:06:00
CONFIDENTIAL
American Institute Taiwan, Taipei
Cable title:  

LY ELECTION REGIONAL OVERVIEW

Tags:   PGOV  TW 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TAIPEI 003919 

SIPDIS

STATE PASS AIT/W

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/02/2014
TAGS: PGOV TW
SUBJECT: LY ELECTION REGIONAL OVERVIEW

REF: TAIPEI 03898

Classified By: AIT Director David J. Keegan, Reason 1.4 (B/D)



1. (C) Summary: The projected shift in the balance of power
between the Pan-Green and Pan-Blue camps in the Legislative
Yuan (LY) reflects changing electoral dynamics within
Taiwan's five main regions. In the north the two sides will
likely split the vote as they did in the last LY elections
held in 2001. The Hakka districts and central Taiwan, in
comparison, are where the Pan-Green is poised to make the
biggest gains and where the contest is being played out most
fiercely. The south continues to be dark Green and the
Pan-Green will have difficulty further whittling down the
already meager Pan-Blue presence. The smaller east coast
districts, outlying islands, and the aborigine vote continue
under Pan-Blue domination, although the Pan-Green could make
some minor inroads. End Summary.

Pan-Green Seeking to Capitalize on Presidential Gains


--------------------------



--------------------------





2. (C) Having made large gains in traditionally Pan-Blue
strongholds during the presidential election earlier this
year, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) hopes to parlay
that support into a majority in the LY. Although most
analysts place the Pan-Green about three seats shy of a
majority, the Green is likely to deprive the Pan-Blue of its
current majority (See Reftel for an overview of the
island-wide numbers). The Pan-Green has run a well
orchestrated campaign. Although it could be hurt by
overnominations in the north, it is likely to hold its
commanding lead in the south and erode most of the Pan-Blue
advantage in the Hakka districts and central Taiwan, where it
picked up 40 and 50 percent, respectively, of the popular
vote in the presidential election this year. In comparison,
the Pan-Blue has nominated conservatively, but is suffering
from organizational challenges and renegade candidates that
will siphon off traditionally Blue votes.

Northern Taiwan: Splitting the Big Prize


--------------------------





3. (C) With a total of 48 seats in Taipei County (28 seats,
one more than the last election) and Taipei City (20 seats),
northern Taiwan has been a site of fierce fighting. The
north, nevertheless, appears likely to repeat the 2001 split
between the Pan-Blue and Pan-Green, going 24-23 in the Blue's
favor with one independent. In Taipei County (but not city)
the Pan-Blue parties have shown remarkable restraint in
coordinating their nominations, resulting in a strong slate
of candidates. The Pan-Green, by contrast, has nominated
aggressively in all northern districts, hoping to get closer
to their goal of a majority. With successful vote
distribution in Taipei County, the Pan-Green might be able to

take an extra seat, but it seems more likely that the
unusually disciplined Pan-Blue will win an additional seat or
two, shifting the balance in the county from its current
14-13 favoring the Pan-Green to a 14-14 split or even 13-15.
Equally under pressure in Taipei City, the Pan-Green will be
struggling to preserve its 9 seats while the Pan-Blue is
likely to win 10 seats and may pick up one more at the DPP's
expense, with the last seat going to a Blue-leaning
independent.

The Hakka Districts: DPP Eating Away at Blue Advantage


--------------------------



--------------------------





4. (C) Heavily populated by the ethnic Hakka minority, the
counties of Taoyuan (13 seats), Hsinchu (3 seats), and Miaoli
(4 seats) and the city of Hsinchu (3 seats) hold a total of
23 seats and have been the focus of the DPP administration's
efforts to expand beyond its ethnic Taiwanese base. The
DPP's campaign to recruit more Hakka grass-roots support and
promote Hakka cultural events yielded marked gains in the
presidential election this year and will likely translate
into more legislative seats on December 11. In Taoyuan
County the DPP is poised to gain one seat at the expense of
the People First Party (PFP), which will lose one or two
seats, reducing the current 8-5 Pan-Blue advantage to 7-6.
In Hsinchu and Miaoli Counties the DPP has a good chance of
improving upon its previous performance, reversing the 2-1
Pan-Blue lead in Hsinchu to 1-2 and reducing the 3-1 Pan-Blue
advantage to a 2-2 draw. Hsinchu City remains the only area
where the status quo, 2-1 in favor of the Blue, will remain
intact.

Central Taiwan: Battleground to Produce a Draw


--------------------------

-



5. (C) Central Taiwan, with a total of 39 seats (one more
than the last election), is where the previous 20-15 Pan-Blue
advantage, with 3 independents, is most likely to be reduced
to a slim 18-17 Pan-Blue margin with 4 independents. The DPP
will be seeking to duplicate its success in the presidential
election, when it boosted its support in these districts, and
will depend on the effectiveness of its vote allocation
system. The Kuomintang (KMT) will need its grassroots
organizations to remain a force in voter mobilization to
fight off the challenge. In Taichung City (8 seats, one more
than the last election) the Pan-Green has 3 safe seats versus
4 seats for the Pan-Blue, with the remaining seat likely to
go to a Green-leaning independent, making for an effective
4-4 split. In Taichung County (11 seats) the DPP recently
decided to "forsake" (chi-pao) one of its candidates and
increased its changes of drawing a 5-5 split with the
Pan-Blue, a reduction from the current 6-4 Pan-Blue
advantage, with one independent getting the remaining seat.



6. (C) In Changhua (10 seats) and Nantou (4 seats) Counties,
the Pan-Green has nominated several incumbents and added
strong moderates in the hopes of taking an extra seat. The
KMT, by comparison, has overnominated, and the presence of
ex-KMT mavericks threatens to undermine its position.
Nevertheless, the most likely outcome for both counties
appears to be a repeat of the status quo from 2001: a 5-4
Pan-Blue advantage in Changhua with 1 independent and a 2-2
draw in Nantou. Yunlin County (6 seats), where vote-buying
and criminal gangs reign supreme, is the hardest county to
predict, but will likely go 3-2 in the Pan-Green's favor with
one independent, a reversal of the current 3-2 Pan-Blue
advantage.

Southern Taiwan: Pan-Green Reached Saturation Point?


--------------------------



--------------------------





7. (C) Most analysts see little prospect for major changes in
the south, where seven counties and cities combine for a
total 46 seats (one less than the last election). The DPP
made significant gains in its traditional stronghold three
years ago, and is basically looking to hold ground. Analysts
estimate the Pan-Green could drop one seat, but the Pan-Blue
can lose two seats, with one seat moving out of the region
and another two going to independents. This would actually
raise the Green margin of victory over the Blue from 11 seats
(28-17 with two independents three years ago) to 12 seats
(27-15 this year with four independent). The Pan-Green is
likely to pick up seats in Kaohsiung County, where the
unexpectedly high vote total of then-DPP newcomer Lin Tai-hua
led to the defeat of two other DPP candidates. This time,
the DPP is working to spread the Green votes more evenly and
is taking advantage of a KMT nomination blunder. After LY
Speaker Wang Jin-pyng decided to run on the proportional list
for this election and the KMT did not nominate a candidate
from Wang's local network, the Taiwan Solidary Union (TSU)
has lured parts of Wang's grassroots supporters to its side.
The DPP is faring less well in those areas where the Pan-Blue
overnominated in the last election, especially Kaohsiung City
and Tainan County. It expects to lose 1-3 seats in these
areas.

East Coast and the Rest: Still Going Blue


--------------------------





8. (C) The east coast counties and cities (9 seats), three
outlying island chains (3 seats), and the aborigine
island-wide districts (8 seats) have long been, and continue
to be, the preserve of the Pan-Blue. Keelung City (3 seats),
Haulien County (2 seats), and Taitung County (1 seat) are
very predictable races with the Pan-Blue maintaining its 2-1,
1-1, and 1-0 advantage. Ilan County (3 seats, down 1 from
the last election), is the only place where the DPP can
increase its lead over the Pan-Blue by coming out with a 2-1
advantage. The single-seat island districts will go to the
KMT (Kinmen district), PFP (Lienchiang), and former KMT
independent (Penghu). Despite its efforts to lobby aborigine
groups, the DPP has made little headway in penetrating
grassroots organizations and has only one secure aborigine
seat out of the 8, an increase of one over its previous zero
baseline.

Comment: Will the Trend Continue?


--------------------------





9. (C) Occupying the executive seat of government since 2000,
the DPP has poured resources into the northern, Hakka, and
central districts in the hopes of expanding its own support
and weaning local interests away from the remnants of the
KMT's organizational base. Those efforts began to bear fruit
in the 2004 presidential election, will likely translate into
marked gains in the LY, and could continue in next year's
mayor and county magistrate elections. AIT has already begun
to see some Pan-Blue county magistrates in these districts
taking a more circumspect role in the local LY races with an
eye toward their own re-election campaign next year. These
critical local leaders want to retain, even increase, their
county's access to central largesse and to avoid alienating
centrist and light green voters they will need in 2005. The
recent defection of Taitung County magistrate from the PFP to
the DPP and the rumors that the Hsinchu County magistrate
will also shift loyalties after the LY election suggest
Pan-Blue strongholds will be coming under increasing
pressure.
PAAL