What you need to know
The implications of the scandal on the upcoming 2024 presidential election, in which Lai is expected to run as the DPP candidate, remain uncertain.
A poll by the Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation (TPOF) showed that 35% of the Taiwanese population expressed satisfaction with how Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Lai Ching-te’s handled recent sexual harassment allegations within the party, while 31% were dissatisfied.
Since May, the ruling DPP has been facing a series of sexual harassment and assault accusations involving party members and officials. In a report, the TPOF pointed out that the poll numbers indicate the party might seem to have weathered the storm, but the crisis is not yet resolved.
Lai has apologized to the victims and Taiwanese society on two occasions and stressed the DPP’s commitment a “zero-tolerance policy” regarding sexual misconduct. He has also pledged to amend internal regulations, strengthen sexual harassment mechanisms, and promote gender equality education within the party.
TPOF Chair You Ying-lung said Lai’s handling of the crisis appears more effective than President Tsai Ing-wen’s response to plagiarism scandals involving DPP candidates last year, which had a detrimental impact on the party’s performance in the midterm elections. Tsai subsequently resigned as party chair.
The implications of the scandal on the upcoming 2024 presidential election, in which Lai is expected to run as the DPP candidate, remain uncertain. A Yahoo poll indicated that over 60% of respondents believed it would have a “significant impact” on the race.
In the TPOF poll, respondents were asked, “Recently, there have been consecutive cases of sexual harassment within the DPP, which have drawn great attention. Generally speaking, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with Chairman Lai Ching-te’s handling of these sexual harassment cases?”
The results showed that around 35% expressed varying levels of satisfaction, while 31% expressed dissatisfaction. Notably, 21.1% had no opinion, and 13.7% either said they did not know or refused to answer.
Satisfaction levels differed among different age groups, with a majority of respondents aged 55 and above expressing satisfaction, while 48% of respondents aged 25-34 chose not to express their opinion.
Partisan affiliation also played a role in how respondents evaluated Lai’s performance. 78% of Taiwan Statebuilding Party supporters and 57% of DPP supporters showed satisfaction, while 62% of Kuomintang supporters and 48% of Taiwan People’s Party supporters showed dissatisfaction.
TNL Editor: Bryan Chou (@thenewslensintl)
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