Taiwanese Politics 2008 Presidential Elections KMT VS DPP Ma Ying Jiu VS Frank Hsieh

Election time is here once again in Taiwan and we are in the throws of the carnival like atmosphere that is Taiwanese politics. Political rallies can be heard far and wide (literally, as I am currently being blasted in my 10th floor apartment with information about upcoming rallies from trucks that cruise slowly down the streets and from events in nearby neighborhoods) as the two main political parties collide.

Click here to see the slideshow of the Taiwan 2008 Presidential election rallies

One thing I learned about the Taiwanese today is that they really enjoy getting involved in the rallies and events that are leading up to one of the most valued aspects of democracy – the vote.

Ma Ying Jeou Tainan Rally 3-19-2008 3-18-2007 7-42-31 AMMa Ying Jeou Tainan Rally 3-19-2008 3-18-2007 7-43-39 AM

Frank Hsieh and Ma Ying Jiu are in a close battle that will be decided on Saturday, March 22. Taiwan’s 4th ever presidential election also has two referendums being put to task.


A referendum on applying for United Nations membership under the name of “Taiwan” will be supervised by the Republic of China and held in Taiwan in 2008, together with the presidential election on 22 March 2008.[1] A counter-referendum on “flexible participation in international organizations” has been initiated by the Kuomintang and its coalition partners.

The first thing I did today was go to The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP 民主进步党) parade near my house. It consisted of droves of supporters parading down the street and other supporters standing there giving them all high fives and shouting words of encouragement. As a modern day blog reporter, I couldn’t help but get involved a little bit. I mean really, who doesn’t enjoy a good high 5.

DPP Rally  3-18-2007 3-54-20 AMDPP Rally  3-18-2007 3-54-34 AM

Things are taking the normal course here in Taiwan, where there is a flare for the dramatic in politics. One example of the drama that can happen here are threats of harry caray (seppuku) by some politicians here, one case after embarrassing the KMT party and themselves and the other to stand ground against a corruption allegation.

Taipei Times

Prosecutors and police in Taipei have begun investigating the clashes that broke out at the campaign headquarters of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) on Wednesday.

The move came after four Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators — Alex Fai (費鴻泰), Chen Chieh (陳杰), Lo Ming-tsai (羅明才) and Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) — paid an unexpected visit to Hsieh’s campaign headquarters to check whether the owner of the building, state-run First Commercial Bank, had rented out the office space to the Hsieh campaign for free.

Taipei Times

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Vice Chairman John Kuan (關中) yesterday dismissed Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) accusations that he had bribed voters, vowing to commit suicide if the rival party could back its claims.

Ma Ying Jeou Tainan Rally 3-19-2008 3-18-2007 7-09-55 AM

It’s a shame I didn’t get more from the DPP events today, but I didn’t want to miss the next special event.

Ma Ying Jeou Tainan Rally 3-19-2008 3-18-2007 7-34-58 AMMa Ying Jeou Tainan Rally 3-19-2008 3-18-2007 7-38-01 AM

Then it was on to the Kuomintang (abbreviation KMT and also referred to as the Chinese Nationalist Party 中國國民黨) event (also near my house) with presidential candidate Ma Ying Jeouh.

Ma Ying Jeou Tainan Rally 3-19-2008 3-18-2007 7-10-53 AM

The KMT rally was very interesting and well orchestrated, down to the background music that was playing while people were giving their speeches. I managed to get a prime location right in front of the barrier of the stage. I paid the price later though as there was a speaker nearby that bombarded my ears for the entire time.

IMG_3401Ma Ying Jeou 3-18-2007 8-42-00 AM

The event started with the MC’s, then moved onto some stars, back to the MC’s, and switched like that for a while, sprinkling some local level politicians and then they worked their way up to the big dog, Ma. He gave his speech that was Chinese interlaced with Taiwanese. If you watch the KMT video you will be able to see some of it towards the middle of the video.

Ma Ying Jeou 3-18-2007 9-00-17 AMMa Ying Jeou Tainan Rally 3-19-2008 3-18-2007 6-18-39 AM

After his speech and some fireworks the event ended and everyone cleared out of the place in a flash.

On a side note, if you have never been to Taiwan before be warned that most bathrooms aren’t equipped with soap, toilet paper, or anyway to dry your hands after you rinse them. It takes some getting used. Here is a photo of what some companies and politicians do here.


They give you a small pack of bum wipes with their logos and images on them. I think this is sending the wrong signal though. Why would you want people to associate you or your company with bowel movements?
Ma Ying Jeou Tainan Rally 3-19-2008 3-18-2007 8-05-42 AM

I tried to have one of Ma’s body guards hook me up with a Ma autograph on my pack of wipes, but he flat out rejected my plea. I however will still cherish these bum wipes, especially in my moment of need. A good politician should always be there for you in your time of crisis, and there is hardly a crisis on par with being stuck in a Taiwanese bathroom with no TP. Thank you Mr Ma. I can’t vote for you (and 1 political party in Taiwan controlling the legislature and presidency is a scary, scary thought), but I will remember you anyway.

About the Author

I am a cultural geographer by nature, and now a photographer, videographer, musician, and webmaster.

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