Taiwan Presidential Polls – Where Character Assassination Prevails

The momentum of the presidential election will determine the democratic way of life for Taiwan, and the illegitimate child allegation is one of the game changers

TAIPEH – The presidential election in Taiwan, scheduled to be held on Saturday, 13 January 2024, will be a pivotal moment in the island’s history as its outcome could solidify the territory’s always precarious sovereignty, plunge it into conflict with China, or set it on a trajectory towards incorporating the state into its larger neighbour.

Whoever wins, recent polls show a close race between the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Chinese Nationalist Kuomintang (KMT), with the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) not far behind, the 13 January vote is likely to be Asia’s most consequential election of 2024. It has been characterised by all sides as a moment of truth.

Determine the Policies of Taiwan

The 2024 election is a choice on the path the country will take, and the presidential race will determine Taiwan’s foreign policy, national security and defense, and its relations with China.

As a backgrounder, incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen of DPP is ineligible for reelection due to term limits, so the party nominated Vice President Lai Ching-te, who had secured the party chairmanship by acclamation in March 2023. He selected Hsiao Bi-khim, the then-Representative to the United States, as his running mate.

The opposition Kuomintang (KMT) nominated the incumbent New Taipei mayor Hou Yu-ih as their candidate for president in May 2023. In November, Hou chose the former Legislative Yuan member Jaw Shaw-kong to be his running mate.

TPP, meanwhile, nominated Ko Wen-je, its leader, and the former Mayor of Taipei, who in turn chose Legislative Yuan member Cynthia Wu as his running mate.

Although the KMT and TPP had initially agreed to field a joint ticket in November 2023, the two sides were unable to reach a final agreement, and each announced their own vice presidential candidate on the last day of registration.

The Presidential hopefuls for Taiwan (From left to right:) Hou Yu-Ih (KMT), Ko Wen-Je (TPP) and Lai Ching-Te (DPP) - Image from Taiwan News
The Presidential hopefuls for Taiwan (From left to right:) Hou Yu-Ih (KMT), Ko Wen-Je (TPP) and Lai Ching-Te (DPP) – Image from Taiwan News

A Straight-ball Showdown

During a live broadcast, Hsieh also responded to the lawsuit filed by a lawyer for insinuating that DPP presidential candidate Lai Ching-te had an illegitimate child. He emphasized that it was a “straight-ball showdown” and would be mentioned every day.

Hsieh Lung-chieh mentioned that Dong Nien Tai questioned Lai Ching-te about having an illegitimate child in 2015. He also pointed out that in the parliament, he also asked Lai Ching-te, but Lai did not respond directly.

Lai Ching-te’s spokesperson, Kuo Yahui, said on 3 January that KMT candidate for non-district legislator Hsieh Long-chieh and former legislator Chiu Yi had insinuated that Lai Ching-te had an illegitimate child in an online program and had appointed a lawyer to file a complaint with the Taipei District Prosecutor’s Office.

The Constant Accusations

Hsieh Lung-chieh pointed out during a live broadcast on the evening of 5 January that Dong Nien Tai raised questions in 2015. Due to constant accusations, Facebook was blocked and was the allegations were sent through text messages instead.

He has a lot of information sent by Dong Nien Tai. If he wants to sue him, the prosecutor will, after sending all evidence materials and will be asked to summon witnesses. Hsieh Lung-chieh said that Lai did not file a lawsuit against Dong’s doubts.

Hsieh said, this It’s a matter that can be criticised by the public, “If you want to sue, it will be a direct match. It will be brought up every day.”

Rallying The People For Votes

Hsieh Lung-chieh said that on the evening of 5 January, Hou Yu-ih and Jaw Shaw-kong held a rally at the Tainan Garden Night Market.

The area of more than 10,000 square meters was packed with people, attracting a crowd of more than 45,000.

Han Kuo-yo also issued a summons to ask for votes, emphasising that there is no so-called “President Ko Wen-je and President Han Kuo-yo”, and even asked Korean fans to vote for Hou Kang-pei of the Kuomintang.

Hsieh described Han’s summons order as “a force can be seen through the clouds, and thousands of troops can come to meet each other”, which has already aroused an effect.

The Wind of Change in Tainan

“The wind is blowing in Tainan. If Tainan flips, the whole of Taiwan will flip.” Hsieh Lung-chieh said that this momentum has been seen from the vote-seeking and campaign venues, but are still very careful and dare not making any assumptions.

He emphasised that the Internet must be fast, and in the past it has caused changes in the vote structures when the blue camp used northern votes to support southern votes, and the green camp used southern votes to support northern votes.

The presidential election will be the deciding factor on how determined the Taiwanese are to defend themselves and Taiwan’s free and democratic way of life. – NMH

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