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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07TAIPEI1763 2007-08-07 07:58:00 CONFIDENTIAL American Institute Taiwan, Taipei
Cable title:  

KMT LY SPEAKER WANG ON DUELING REFERENDA, PAC-III,

Tags:   PGOV TW 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 001763 

SIPDIS

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/06/2032
TAGS: PGOV TW
SUBJECT: KMT LY SPEAKER WANG ON DUELING REFERENDA, PAC-III,
MA CAMPAIGN


Classified By: AIT Director Stephen M. Young, Reason(s): 1.4 (B/D).



1. (C) Summary: Legislative Yuan (LY) Speaker Wang Jin-pyng
(KMT) told the Director on July 31 that he expected four
referenda to be voted on in the 2008 elections, including the
DPP UN referendum, but none of them is likely to pass. The
KMT would withdraw its own UN referendum, Wang asserted, but
only if the DPP withdrew its referendum first. With the
People First Party (PFP) much weaker in the legislature,
Patriot-III missiles could be approved as early as January
2008, Wang predicted. Separating the legislative and
presidential elections will be good for Taiwan, Wang opined,
but bad for the KMT, since DPP voters will have a chance to
avenge their expected legislative loss by turning out en
masse for the subsequent presidential ballot. End Summary.

Four Referenda On The Ballot?


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





2. (C) As it stands, Wang told the Director, it appears that
four separate referenda will be put to a vote during the 2008
presidential election: (1) a DPP referendum on KMT party
assets, (2) a KMT referendum on DPP misappropriation of
national assets, (3) the DPP's referendum on joining the UN
under the name "Taiwan" and (4) the KMT's own referendum on
UN membership under a broader list of names. The referenda
will not be included on the presidential ballot itself, Wang
explained. Instead, each referendum will be printed on its
own separate ballot, and voters will be required to request
separate ballots for the measures upon which they wish to
vote. Because Taiwan's voters are so polarized, Wang
predicted, they will request the two Green referenda or the
two Blue ones, but not both sets. With the vote divided in
this way, and with the high threshold for referendum passage
(a majority of at least 50 percent of eligible voters must
approve), it is highly unlikely that any of the referenda,
including the two on UN membership, will pass. (Note: While
the two UN referenda are likely to be held together with the
presidential election on March 22, most sources have
suggested previously that the two referenda on party and
national assets would be held together with the legislative
elections on January 12, 2008. End Note.)

Who Will Blink First, If Anyone?


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





3. (C) The Director asked whether Wang believed the DPP would
be willing to withdraw its UN referendum. Wang said that
once a referendum is formally "registered" for the ballot, it
cannot be withdrawn. Wang said he did not know when that
deadline was, but added that the KMT would be willing to
withdraw its UN referendum if the DPP did so first. Wang
then asked whether the USG was actively pursing this outcome.
The Director acknowledged US efforts to dissuade President
Chen from holding the UN referendum, but stressed the
sensitive and confidential nature of our discussions on the
issue.

USG Not Responding To PRC Pressure


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





4. (C) Wang asked the Director whether the U.S. was under
"heavy pressure" from Beijing to discourage the DPP from
pursuing a referendum on UN membership for "Taiwan." The
Director responded that the USG is motivated by its own
interests and concerns as it seeks to dissuade Chen and the
DPP from pursuing such a referendum. In our view, the
Director continued, the UN referendum achieves nothing, since
"Taiwan" has already applied to and been rejected by the UN
this year. Also, he pointed out, the referendum could
adversely affect Taiwan's relations with China and the U.S.

Deep Greens Pushing Hsieh


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





5. (C) The pro-independence faction of the DPP led by
Chairman Yu Shyi-kun is trying to force DPP presidential
candidate Frank Hsieh to endorse a "defensive referendum"
touching on sovereignty-related themes, according to Wang.
However, he added, Yu and others have backed off recently,

TAIPEI 00001763 002 OF 002


perhaps realizing that although Hsieh supports the referendum
on UN membership for "Taiwan," he cannot endorse an
independence-related referendum without losing support from
moderate swing voters.

PAC-IIIs a Possibility


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





6. (C) Without making any promises, Wang expressed optimism
that by January 2008 the LY would be able to approve spending
to purchase the long-stalled Patriot-III missile batteries.
James Soong's People First Party (PFP) is nearly defunct,
Wang remarked, and should not be able to block the PAC-IIIs
as it has in the past. According to Wang, the chief obstacle
to passage now is KMT legislator Su Chi, who has Ma's ear on
U.S.-Taiwan and defense issues. Wang argued that the KMT LY
caucus would follow instructions from the party's Central
Standing Committee to complete the PAC-III purchase; however,
no one (read Ma) has tried to impose this kind of discipline.
Earlier in their conversation, Wang told the Director that
he did not have any specific problem with Ma, but could not
say how Ma felt about him, and could not predict the future
of their relationship.

Bifurcated Elections Help DPP


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





7. (C) Wang remarked that combining the LY and presidential
elections on January 19, 2008, would have left President Chen
a lame duck for over four months (beyond the constitutionally
permitted limit), and also would have negatively affected his
ability to govern Taiwan. Moreover, he argued, consolidated
elections would have been bad for the KMT. According to
Wang, most KMT leaders wanted combined elections, believing
that Ma would help attract KMT voters to the polls, enabling
KMT LY candidates to ride Ma's coattails to victory. Wang
disagreed, arguing that voter turnout for legislative
elections is on average fifteen percent lower than the 82
percent that turns out for presidential elections. Thus,
combining the two elections would have suppressed KMT voter
turnout, Wang continued, since the KMT is widely favored to
dominate the LY next term, and KMT voters sense no urgency to
vote in the LY race. Wang noted that the DPP leadership, for
its part, sees the bifurcated elections as a second chance:
if the DPP loses badly in the LY race, Green voters will be
motivated to turn out in greater numbers in hopes of winning
the presidency.
YOUNG