Kuomintang wins Taiwan election
The Kuomintang party has defeated the Democratic Progressive Party, which has advocated independence for the island nation, by an unexpectedly large margin. "Kuomintang presidential candidate Ma Ying-Jeou told a victory celebration that the party had captured 81 of the 113 seats, beating predictions from analysts that it would win about 75 seats." The Kuomintang's victory apparently opens the way to more business ties with the mainland.
The Democratic Progressive Party was "unwilling to lift restrictions on certain business ties -- for example by maintaining caps on Taiwanese investments in China. Mr. Chen has also opposed allowing Chinese investment in Taiwanese companies." Now, with the Kuomintang in power, those restrictions will probably ease.
The Taipei Times claims that the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) loss was the result of a structural effect in the way coalitions are formed within parliament and does mean a popular landslide against the DPP's policies. "The interesting thing is that the DPP achieved a higher proportion of the district vote (38.17 percent) than in legislative elections four years ago, when it received 35.7 percent of the vote. Its party proportional vote was also marginally higher -- at 36.91 percent. The main reasons for the KMT's landslide victory are instead the distributive nature of the new system and how it forced KMT-aligned local factions to cooperate with one another." The DPP truly lost the election, but not by as much as the margin indicated.
Elsewhere in the Taipei Times editorial writers expressed their worst fear: the idea that Taiwan would slowly become a Mainland colony under the Kuomintang management.
Yes, cross-strait tensions will lessen, but only because a Ma administration will have moved toward surrendering Taiwan's sovereignty.
Perhaps the KMT will agree to outlaw the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Perhaps the KMT will use its majority to adopt China's "Anti-Secession" Law in Taiwan and use it to suppress any talk of independence. Perhaps once again talk of independence will become a crime and DPP members may become targets of arrest. Taiwan will once again become a one-party town. And it will no longer be Taiwan. It will become Chinese Taipei, an island built around a city. With the lowering of all barriers to investment in China, Taiwan will lose all of its industry to China and become the Honolulu of China, a mere tourist island, where international fame comes from its betelnut beauties. For many people, that may be the only job left, after all the high-tech jobs have fled to China.
What the recent election has revealed is that the Battle for Taiwan was really being fought in the markets as much as in the skies and water around the island. Once the DPP, which had "its roots in the liberal opposition to the Kuomintang's former one-party rule structure" had made enough political mistakes, the time was ripe for the Kuomintang, which while committed to Taiwanese independence is also wedded to the idea of "One China", to retake the wheel of state. But "One China" under the current context can only mean "One China" under Beijing, not Taipei.
Whether or not the Mainland has won a huge strategic victory is something that analysts are probably considering now.