Taiwan News: Central Election Commission Chair Resigns amid Election Aftermath

Taiwan News: Central Election Commission Chair Resigns amid Election Aftermath
Photo credit: 中央社
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Central Election Commission (CEC) Chairman Chen In-chin (陳英鈐) has resigned amid continuing criticism over the handling of Saturday's election and vote counting.

Cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka says Chen's resignation has been accepted by Premier William Lai (賴清德).

Saturday's vote saw candidates running for 11,047 local offices, and was held in conjunction with 10 referendums.

It has been described as the biggest ever vote in Taiwan, and voters encountered long lines and in some instances waits of two or three hours to cast their ballots,

Election workers didn't finish counting the votes until 3:02 a.m. on Sunday morning, the longest count in the country's history.

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The CEC said it respects a call by Kuomintang Taipei mayoral candidate Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) to invalidate the result of Saturday's election, in which he lost to incumbent Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) by a razor-thin margin.

According to commission Vice Chairman Chen Chao-chien (陳朝建), his office fully respects and understands Ting's decision to lodge the appeal, and the commission will cooperate with any court ruling on the issue.

Ting filed an appealed with the Taipei District Court early Sunday to seal the ballot boxes used in the election.

Results show that he lost to Ko by a margin of 3,254 votes, pending the decision to file a lawsuit to invalidate the result.

The results were the narrowest margin in the history of Taipei's mayoral elections. Ting has complained that there were many irregularities during and after the electoral process, and is demanding a recount.

The results Sunday morning showed Ko garnered 580,820 votes, or 41.05 percent of the votes cast, against Ting's 577,566 votes or 40.82 percent of the total votes counted.

The DPP's Pasuya Yao (姚文智) received 244,641 votes, or 17.29 percent of the total.

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Photo Credit:中央社
KMT Taipei mayoral candidate Ting Shou-chung is demanding a recount in the wake of the tightest race in the capital's history.

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President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is hinting at delegating more power to the younger generation following Saturday's election – saying, "we should allow them to assume greater duties."

Tsai made the comments on the official Facebook page of the DPP's Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋), who earlier called on the party's younger generation to assume more power.

Tsai resigned as DPP chairwoman Saturday following the party's crushing defeat in the election.

Writing on Lee's Facebook page, she thanked the DPP lawmaker for campaigning for the party's candidates, and said "we should reflect on our defeat and I'm the one to be blamed."

Tsai went on to say, "let's move to allow the younger generation to assume greater duties and let's work together toward that goal."

李俊俋
Photo Credit: 李俊俋
DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yi is leading calls for the party to handover more power to its younger politicians.

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The Mainland Affairs Council has urged Beijing not to "misjudge" the results of this past weekend's elections and referendums.

According to the council, the local government elections and referendums are an internal matter for Taiwan, and the results are a demonstration of the core values of Taiwan's democracy.

The council said Beijing needs to fully respect and recognize the voting results, refrain from meddling in Taiwan's internal affairs and not misjudge the Taiwan people's expectations for cross-Strait relations.

The statement also said the government and people of Taiwan remain committed to safeguarding the peaceful status-quo across the strait, which is Taiwan's basic stance and the consensus of its people.

The statement came after China's Taiwan Affairs Office released a statement in which it said the election and referendum results reflect the Taiwan people's high hopes for peaceful development in cross-Strait relations and their desire for a better economy.

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is praising Taiwan's local government elections – calling them an example of democracy in action for the Indo-Pacific region.

Writing on his Twitter account, Pompeo said "the United States congratulates Taiwan on another successful round of free and fair elections" and the island's "hard-earned constitutional democracy is an example for the entire Indo-Pacific."

Here in Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs retweeted Pompeo's tweet and expressed its gratitude for the U.S. praise of the country.

The U.S. State Department has also praised Taiwan on the smooth completion of the local elections.

With a State Department spokesperson saying "the United States congratulates the people on Taiwan for once again demonstrating the strength of their vibrant democratic system through a successful round of elections."

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The president of the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee is thanking the public for rejecting a referendum that had called for voters to drop the name "Chinese Taipei" to compete in international sports events.

Speaking to reporters, Lin Hong-dow (林鴻道) said if the referendum had passed, Taiwan would have risked losing its Olympic membership, preventing its athletes from competing in Olympic-related events.

The referendum was voted down by a roughly 5.77 million votes to 4.76 million, a 55- to 45-percent margin.

According to Lin, rejecting the referendum was a tough call because he fully understands why its initiators want the name "Chinese Taipei" changed to "Taiwan."

However, he also said it his office's duty to safeguard the rights of Taiwanese athletes competing in Olympic-related events, and the name-change would be a violation of an agreement it made with the International Olympic Committee.

RTX442AU
Credit: Reuters / TPG
Athletes like an Tan Chi-chung, here competing in the 2016 Rio Olympics Weightlifting Final, Men's 56 kg event, will still compete as 'Chinese Taipei' in the Tokyo Olympics following the failure of the referendum on a potential name change to 'Taiwan'.

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Taipower has said it respects the referendum results related to energy, but will still follow the policies of the government.

The statement comes after the public voted against the government's policy of phasing-out nuclear power by 2025.

A total of 5,895,560 votes were cast in favor of repealing a nuclear phase-out policy, and 4,014,215 against the initiative.

Cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said the government's goal to make Taiwan a nuclear-free homeland by 2025 remains unchanged.

However, under the Referendum Act, a law repealed in a referendum has to be rescinded three days after the result is officially announced by the CEC, and Kolas Yotaka said that the phrase committing to a non-nuclear homeland will now be removed from the Electricity Act.

She also said it may not be possible to postpone the phase-out of the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 nuclear plants.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs' 2025 renewable targets envisage 20 GW of capacity coming from solar photovoltaic panels and 5.5 GW from offshore wind.

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Japan's top envoy to Taiwan is expressing his regret over the results of a referendum to maintain a ban on the import of agricultural products and food from areas in Japan affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Describing the issue as having been "politicized," Mikio Numata, said Taiwan and Japan now need to work together to prevent the referendum result from harming bilateral ties and economic exchanges.

According to Numata, his office will continue to do its best to convince people here in Taiwan of the safety of Japanese food products, and hopes that the ban will soon be lifted.

The KMT-initiated referendum asked voters if they agree that the government should maintain the ban on imports of agricultural products and food from areas in Japan affected by the nuclear plant disaster.

Voters supported the measure by a 78-22 percent margin among the nearly 10 million valid votes cast.

Foreign ministry spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said the Tsai administration will hold talks with Japan over the referendum results as it seeks Tokyo's understanding.

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Photo Credit: 時代力量黨團
The New Power Party leadership helped the party secure 16 seats across Taiwan in city and county councilor elections.

The New Power Party (NPP) has made substantial ground following Saturday's elections for city and county councilors, securing 16 seats in 10 cities and counties out of the party's 40 nominees.

It was the first time the NPP had fielded candidates in local government elections.

The NPP grabbed 16 seat in Taipei, Tainan, Kaohsiung and Taoyuan, and in Keelung City and Hsinchu City, as well as in Hsinchu, Miaoli, Changhua and Yunlin counties.

The party won three seats in both Taipei and Hsinchu City, allowing its city councilors to assemble a caucus and thus acquire greater leverage within those councils.

The NPP is expressing its gratitude to voters for giving the party a chance, and vowed to "bring on new politics."

Read Next: OPINION: Why the DPP Lost Taiwan's Local elections

This news bulletin was provided courtesy of International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT), Taiwan’s leading English-language broadcaster.

Editor: David Green (@DavidPeterGreen)

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