This is Eric taking over this newsletter from Jess. Over Thanksgiving weekend, Taiwan had its local election as well as a major referendum vote. While it has been over a week, there are still talks and questions about it. We’ve put together a few simple points of the major things that happened in the election.
What might have been even bigger than the mayoral elections (read after this section) was the 10 referendum votes.
Find all 10 referendum items here
The biggest issue voted on (and is gaining the most international news) is the question of same-sex marriage and education
- Do you agree that marriage defined in the Civil Code should be restricted to the union between one man and one woman? (72% Yes. 28% No)
- Do you agree that the Ministry of Education should not implement the Enforcement Rules of the Gender Equality Education Act in elementary and middle schools? (67% Yes. 33% No)
- Do you agree to the protection of the rights of same-sex couples in co-habitation on a permanent basis in ways other than changing of the Civil Code? (61% Yes. 39% No)
- Do you agree to the protection of same-sex marital rights with marriage as defined in the Civil Code? (33% Yes. 67% No)
- Do you agree in accordance with the Gender Equality Education Act that national education of all levels should educate students on the importance of gender equality, emotional education, sex education, and same-sex education? (34% Yes. 66% No)
One big thing to be noted is that last year’s highest constitutional court ruled that the ban of same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and has tasked the legislature to allow for same-sex marriage within 2 years. This referendum does NOT overturn that decision. The government will still have to allow for same-sex marriage.
Another heavily watched referendum item is:
- Do you agree to the use of “Taiwan” when participating in all international sport competitions, including the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics? (45% Yes. 55% No)
Taiwan has never been able to compete under the name “Taiwan” or even “Republic of China”. Since Taiwan’s relations with Japan is very good, there were hopes that “Taiwan” could be used in the upcoming Olympics and all the other international sport competitions.
There are large concerns about this vote enraging China and the possibility of Taiwanese athletes being denied entry to international competitions.
KMT candidate Han Kuo-yu took down the DPP stronghold city. Running on a platform of economic growth, Han was a seemingly unknown politician who has been compared to US President Trump.
Taiwan’s new ‘CEO mayor’ plays up economic goals over China ties
Incumbent Ko Wen-Je (Independent) held his seat by a margin of 3,000 votes (less than half a percent.) Last election Ko had the support of the DPP but did not get their full support as DPP ran their own candidate that only received 17% of the votes
New Taipei City
KMT candidate Hou You-Yi helped the party maintain mayorship over the city. This race also saw the return of OG DPP Su Tseng-Chang.
Counting all the cities and counties, DPP lost 7 seats (over half their seats from 2014) while KMT gained 9 seats (two seats were won over from independent candidates). This massive defeat led to President Tsai Ing-Wen to give up her position as chairwoman of the party (she’s still president, just not the head of the party.)
This is a thing that happens all the time: after a big defeat the head of the party seems to HAVE to relinquish their spot. Thoughts?