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Cablegate: Survey Shows Local Dpp Administrations Receive

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

300854Z Sep 05





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Survey Shows Local DPP Administrations Receive
Lower Approval Ratings


1. "The Commonwealth" magazine published in its latest
issue the results of a performance survey of Taiwan's 25
city mayors and county magistrates. The survey found that
ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) mayors and
magistrates received overall lower performance ratings than
did opposition Pan-Blue mayors and magistrates. The survey,
conducted Aug. 6 - Sept. 7, interviewed 12,225 respondents
from the 25 cities and counties by telephone on a random
basis. The polling questions included economic
competitiveness, administrative effectiveness, social order,
education and culture, and environmental sanitation.

2. According to the survey, the top five magistrates and
mayors are those from Penghu County, Hsinchu County, Taoyuan
County, Taipei City and Hsinchu City, while the lowest five
are from Kaohsiung City, Keelung City, Nantou County, Yunlin
County, Taipei County and Pingtung County.

3. Three of the lowest five are serving on an acting basis
in DPP-ruled counties. Former Acting Kaohsiung Mayor Chen
Chi-mai, who stepped down to take political responsibility
for the rioting of Thai laborers working on the construction
of the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit System, was rated
twentieth for his overall performance. By comparison,
Chen's predecessor, Frank Hsieh, who was appointed Prime
Minister in January 2005 because of his good performance in
Kaohsiung, received a third place ranking in last year's
survey. Acting Taipei County Magistrate Lin Hsi-yao and
Acting Pingtung County Magistrate Wu Ying-wen were rated
twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth respectively whereas their
predecessors Su Tseng-chang, now DPP Chairman, and Su Chia-
chuan, now Minister of Interior were rated tenth and the
sixteenth respectively in the last survey.

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4. Commonwealth magazine attributed the drastic change in
rankings of DPP acting mayors and magistrates to low
popularity since their charisma is far less than the people
they replaced, who were elected based on high profile
campaigns. Soochow University Professor Emile Sheng (Chi-
jen) pointed out that he believes the survey shows how
disappointed voters are with the appointed magistrates
because voters' trust for the government, which comes from a
four-year election contract, was destroyed when new
magistrates began serving on an "acting" basis.

5. Commonwealth also noted that although Taoyuan County and
Kaohsiung County were the two counties that suffered most
serious flood disasters during the typhoon season, their two
magistrates were rated third and the sixth for their overall
performance. The magazine report indicated that leaders who
do a good job of crisis management tend to get higher
approval ratings. For example, Hsinchu County Magistrate
Cheng Shui-chin, who managed to evacuate local residents
living in flood-affected areas in a timely manner, was rated

6. Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Lo Chi-ming from
Kaohsiung City urged that the new Acting Kaohsiing Mayor Yeh
Chu-lan take these survey results as a lesson learned
instead of an embarrassing gift during her first days in
office. Lo criticized the DPP administration's practice of
promoting elected mayors and magistrates to the cabinet
after serving only their first two years in office. Lo
pointed out that Kaohsiung City has had two acting mayors
since Frank Hsieh was appointed as Premier eight months ago.

7. In response to the survey result, Acting Kaohsiung Mayor
Yeh Chu-lan, who assumed her duties on September 26, 2005,
admitted that the KRTC scandal has lessened voters'
confidence for the current city administration to some
extent. Yeh, on her first day in office, announced five new
initiatives: setting up a KMRT inspection team, developing
Kaohsiung into a waterfront garden city, preparing for the
2009 World Games, building a safe and peaceful city and
promoting tourism industry. Yeh hopes to regain Kaohsiung
citizens' confidence for the city administration as well as
for DPP presence in southern Taiwan.

8. A September 27 "China Times" poll of 805 Taiwan voters
island-wide found 47 percent of respondents dissatisfied
with President Chen Shui-bian's performance, compared with
38 percent satisfied, Chen's lowest performance evaluation
since his second inaugurated in May 2004. Asked if they
were satisfied with the DPP's performance, 42 percent said
no, and 36 percent yes. The KMT's approval rating remained
at 40 percent, with 36 percent giving negative replies.



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