Taiwan News: DPP Picks Acting Chairman, Tsai Reckons With Election Failure

Taiwan News: DPP Picks Acting Chairman, Tsai Reckons With Election Failure
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Keelung City Mayor Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) has been selected to serve as acting Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson.

Lin replaces President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who stepped down from the post late Saturday to take responsibility for the party's poor performance in the local elections.

Lin, who won re-election this past weekend, was selected to fill the post by members of the DPP's Central Standing Committee.

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Credit: Taiwan Presidential Office
Tsai Ing-wen (C) and Lin Yu-chang look out at the Celebrity Millennium cruise ship in Keelung Harbor on Oct. 27, 2016.

Speaking after the meeting, Lin said his mission as acting chair will include organizing an election for the position of party chairperson and overseeing work to nominate candidates for upcoming by-elections.

The by-elections will fill legislative seats left vacant after the local elections. The Central Election Commission (CEC) is scheduled to discuss those by-elections tomorrow.

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President Tsai said her lack of leadership and failure to properly communicate government policies to the public were partly to blame for the DPP's loses in the local elections.

According to Tsai, her failure to lead both the country and the party from the front have led to a divided society and resulted in the public's inability to feel the benefits of economic growth.

Tsai said she mistakenly chose to remain silent, or not take a strong enough stance on many issues, as she sought that would reduce confrontation.

However, Tsai said the social divisions did not end because she refrained from expressing her opinions and the DPP now needs to learn from its defeat and adapt its policies to make sure the public fully understands and benefits from them.

Read More: Taiwan's Young, Progressive Voters Left to Question What Comes Next

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The Ministry of Economic Affairs said it will announce a new energy policy within two months.

The move comes after the government scrapped policies aimed at making Taiwan nuclear power free by 2025 following the results of the past weekend's referendum, that found a majority of voters are against abolishing nuclear power.

According to Economics Minister Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津), the new energy policy will focus on the use of green and nuclear energy, while promoting public awareness of the need to save electricity.

Shen said the ministry will ask Taipower to assess the possibility of extending the service life of the third nuclear power plant in Pingtung County and to raise that request with the Atomic Energy Council by July of next year.

The minister also said operations at the second nuclear power plant in New Taipei could also be extended if the problem of power shortages is not resolved.

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The Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) said China is continuing to reject requests by members of Lee Ming-che (李明哲)'s family to visit him in prison.

According to foundation spokesperson Kuan An-lu (管安露), Beijing has also not given any reasons why it has denied the numerous requests to visit Lee, who has been in prison since November of last year after being convicted of "subversion of state power."

Kuan says Chinese authorities have turned down four requests for Lee's relatives to visit him since October, and the most recent rejection was issued last week.

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Credit: Reuters/達志影像

Read More: We Are All Lee Ming-che

Speaking to reporters, the SEF spokesperson said Chinese authorities should allow Lee's family to see him as soon as possible in a show of goodwill and in the interest of human rights.

China's Taiwan Affairs Office has repeatedly claimed there are no problems concerning visits to Lee in Chishan Prison in Hunan.

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The Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee slammed a ruling by the Taipei High Administrative Court in favor of unfreezing the National Women's League's assets.

The court ruling states that the committee can not freeze the league's assets until a verdict is handed down in another case, in which the women's league is challenging the committee's decision to label it as a Kuomintang (KMT)-affiliated organization.

According to the Taipei High Administrative Court, the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee's decision to freeze the league's assets would result in the group suffering irreversible damage to its reputation and its assets.

The court says the women's league must be allowed to continue carrying out its charity and social welfare work.

However, the assets settlement committee is describing the ruling as "totally unacceptable" - arguing the women's league used donations to fund other KMT affiliated groups.

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KMT Taipei mayoral candidate Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) has filed a request for a vote recount.

Ting filed the application with the Taipei District Court, citing what he claimed to be major flaws in the way the Central Election Commission and the Taipei City Election Commission handled the election.

According to Ting, many people have complained about irregularities during and after the voting process and voting and counting took place simultaneously at a polling station in Shilin District.

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Credit: Reuters / Ann Wang
Ting Shou-chung announces he will file a suit regarding the election result in Taipei on Sunday, Nov. 25.

Ting also claimed that tactical voting could have occurred, as pan-Green voters who initially intended to vote for Pasuya Yao (姚文智) might have changed their minds and voted for Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) after seeing that Yao was trailing far behind.

Ting said he will decide whether to file a lawsuit to annul the election or to invalidate Ko's elected status depending on the result of the recount.

Ting lost to Ko by 3,254 votes on Saturday.

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The Air Force is reportedly dropping its plans to purchase F-35 Lightning stealth fighter aircraft from the U.S. and is reissuing a request for F-16V fighters.

Defense officials are being cited as saying Taiwan is seeking to buy 66 F-16V fighters and an additional six aircraft to replace crashed F-16A/Bs.

The move comes after the publication of a recent Taiwan National Security Council report, which warned that the F-35s were too expensive.

There have also been numerous reports out of Washington saying that defense officials there are wary of providing Taiwan with fifth-generation fighters due to concerns that China could get hold of the technology.

Taiwan requested 66 F-16C/Ds during the Obama administration, but that deal was denied by the then U.S. government due to pressure from China.

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U.S. Congressman Ted Yoho voiced concern about Beijing's alleged meddling in this past weekend's local elections and urged the Trump administration to send Cabinet-level officials to Taiwan as a show of support.

According to Yoho, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Beijing should aspire to, rather than work to undermine Taiwan's vibrant democracy and upstanding international conduct.

Stressing that "the U.S. Taiwan partnership remains unwavering," Yoho says he will continue to encourage the Trump administration to show its commitment to Taiwan.

Yoho said he hopes the White House can fully implement the Taiwan Travel Act, beginning with a cabinet-level visit to the country "as soon as possible."

The statement comes amid ongoing allegations that Beijing spread "fake news" on the Internet and used various methods to build the online popularity of KMT candidates.

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Two U.S. Navy ships have sailed through the Taiwan Strait in the third such operation this year.

According to the U.S. Pacific Fleet, the USS Stockdale and the USS Pecos transited through the Taiwan Strait "demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific."

The_guided-missile_destroyer_USS_Stockda
Credit: US Navy / Public Domain
The guided missile destroyer USS Stockdale.

Defense officials in the U.S. also said the latest transit also shows that the "Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows."

The transit comes ahead of an expected meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping this week in Argentina on the sidelines of a G-20 summit.

The U.S. Navy conducted a similar mission in the Taiwan Strait in July.

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The Supreme Court has ordered the China Petrochemical Development Corporation (CPDC) to pay compensation to 400 victims of dioxin contamination caused by the company's Anshun plant in Tainan.

The court has ordered CPDC to pay a total of NT$180 million (US$5.83 million) in compensation to the victims.

The ruling comes after some 300 residents who lived and worked near the plant filed a lawsuit against the company in 2008.

The Supreme Court has also overruled a previous court decision, which had called on the Ministry of Economic Affairs to pay the compensation package. According to the court, the government agency should now not be held liable for the contamination.

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Taiwan and Japan are set to sign five memorandums of understanding after their annual economic and trade meeting in Taipei this week.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said the agreements are aimed at enhancing cooperation between small and medium enterprises in the two countries.

The closed-door meeting will be taking place at the Ambassador Hotel in Taipei today and tomorrow.

Discussions are expected to focus on a wide range of economic and trade issues. Taiwan's delegation is likely to express Taiwan's interest in joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The Japanese delegation is expected to voice its concern over passage of a referendum this past weekend that called for the continued ban on food imports from prefectures affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster.

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International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said he welcomes Taiwan's participation the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games under the name "Chinese Taipei."

The statement came in response to a question about the failure of a referendum to apply for a name change was rejected by voters here in Taiwan this past weekend.

The question as to whether the island should apply for the Tokyo Games under the name "Taiwan" instead of "Chinese Taipei" was defeated by a 55 to 45 percent margin.

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Credit: Reuters / TPG

Read More: OPINION: Failure of Olympic Name Poll Shows Taiwanese Voters' Pragmatism

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Taoyuan has won an international award for a program to promote the integration of migrant workers.

The award was from the International Observatory on Participatory Democracy and is handed out in recognition of public policies implemented by local governments. It was presented to Taoyuan at the group's annual conference in Spain.

Taoyuan was this year's winner for Best Practice in Citizen Participation.

According to the city's Department of Labor, Taoyuan was recognized for its Participatory Budgeting for Migrant Workers program, which was launched in 2017 to create a more inclusive society for migrant workers.

Taoyuan is home to more than 100,000 migrant workers.

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Work to restore an old street made up of red brick buildings with arched front-door facades in Kinmen will soon begin - seven years after the owners of some of the dilapidated houses first sought assistance for restoration work.

Lu Kun-ho (呂坤和), the director the Kinmen County Office of Cultural Affairs, said contractors have now been secured for the Mo-Fan Street restoration program and he expects the commercial street to be restored within one year.

According to Lu, the program represents "a consensus among the owners to restore the buildings to their former glory."

Buildings in the street date back to the 1920s. The street enjoyed its heyday in 1960s, but fell into disrepair in the 1980s and 1990s due to economic recession.

Read Next: INTERVIEW: DPP Legislator Wang Ting-yu on Reforming the DPP

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

Editor: Nick Aspinwall (@Nick1Aspinwall)

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