Cablegate: Media Reaction: Taiwan's Legislative Elections

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

A) "U.S. Words Matter in Taiwan"

The conservative, pro-unification English-language
"China Post" editorialized (12/14):

"The surprise outcome of Saturday's legislative
elections, blocking the pro-independence President Chen
Shui-bian's bid to control the legislature, is a relief
for Beijing, Washington and Taiwan's neighbors. .

"It is easy to conclude that the results were `an upset
win for the opposition,' `a setback for Chen' and `most
people favor status quo.' And it is also convenient to
say that under Chen's dictatorship, the green group's
campaign obviously had overplayed its hand, ignoring
the people's wishes for stability and harmony and
pushing more boldly its anti-China platforms.

"But the electorate's support for the blue group could
not have increased if Washington had not sent timely
and blunt warnings against Chen's provocative rhetoric.

"Obviously, voters chose to heed America's caution and
not to rewrite history. Polls show 2.2 million voters
who had supported his re-election bid in March changed
their minds or simply stayed away from the ballot box.
But the opposition's majority of two is too slim to
check the all-powerful presidential office, promising
prolonged political instability.

"Cross-strait peace will depend on Washington
restraining Taipei, Beijing being less assertive, and
on the prudence of Taiwan's people who already have
freedom and de facto independence and apparently aren't
willing to gamble for de jure independence merely as a
gesture of defiance."

B) "New Poll Deals Chen a Serious Blow"

Osman Tseng of the conservative, pro-unification,
English-language "China Post" noted (12/13):

"The results of the just ended Saturday legislative
election delivered many important messages. Among them
is a revelation that proves to us incorrect a current
widely held perception: The ideology of independence,
or Taiwanese nationalism, has acquired such widespread
popular support that it now has become the mainstream
political faith in Taiwan. .

"That a greater portion of the voters chose to support
the pro-status quo `pan-blue' suggests that these
people, instead of backing the independence cause,
prefer to see Taiwan continuing to preserve its current
political standing. .

"With a renewed mandate, the opposition alliance could
provide stronger checks on the Chen administration,
necessitated by the fact that the government team has
become increasingly unresponsive. .

"The Saturday legislative poll in a sense was a no-
confidence against Chen. . The refusal of the voters
to answer to Chen's calls and give him control of the
lawmaking body was a serious blow to him. Without the
backing of the legislature, it would become even more
difficult, if not impossible, for him to enact a new
Constitution by a referendum. His recently launched
name-rectification plan and the broader de-sinicization
campaign being carried out by his administration can be
expected to face even stronger objections from the re-
elected Legislature, to be installed in February. ."


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