Cablegate: Dpp and Kmt Preparing for Possible Kaohsiung Mayoral

DE RUEHIN #2379/01 2960716
P 230716Z OCT 07






E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: DPP and KMT Preparing for Possible Kaohsiung Mayoral
Supplemental Election

REF: A) Taipei 1565 B) Taipei 1457 C) Taipei 1382 D) 2005 Taipei


1. (SBU) Summary. The Taiwan High Court Kaohsiung Branch reportedly
will announce its final ruling on November 16 on Kaohsiung Mayor
Chen Chu's appeal against the District Court's earlier judgment that
nullified the results of the December 2006 Kaohsiung mayoral
election (reftel c). While a local journalist told AIT/K he expects
the High Court to deny Mayor Chen's appeal, a local attorney
predicted the opposite result, and even the KMT's lawyers have
indicated they are not overly optimistic about the Court upholding
the nullification decision. The DPP is concerned the nullification
may be upheld for reasons of political bias within the judiciary.
Both the KMT and DPP are actively making preparations for a possible
supplementary mayoral election. End Summary.

2. (SBU) The Taiwan High Court Kaohsiung Branch held its final
public hearing October 15 regarding Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu's
appeal against the first District Court ruling, which nullified the
results of the December 2006 Kaohsiung mayoral election (see reftels
a,b,c). The High Court reportedly will announce its final ruling on
November 16. If Mayor Chen loses her appeal, a supplementary
mayoral election must be held within three months. According to
Ms. Pan Jui-er, a senior staff member of the Kaohsiung Election
Committee (KEC), if the High Court declines Mayor Chen's appeal, KEC
will begin on the same day, November 16, to prepare a supplementary
mayoral election, which must be completed fully within three months.
According to Pan, two months will be needed for internal
administrative preparation. One additional week is needed for
posting the election announcement and ten days for accepting
registrations. A November 16 announcement that upholds the
nullification will not allow for the supplementary mayoral election
to be held simultaneously with either the LY elections, scheduled
for January 12, 2008, or with the presidential election, scheduled
for March 22, 2008.

3. (SBU) On September 28, 2007, Central News Agency Reporter Chen
Chi-feng, who attended the final public hearing on the Kaohsiung
mayoral nullification lawsuit, told AIT/K he believes there is an
eighty percent chance Chen Chu's appeal will be denied and a
supplementary election ordered. According to Mr. Chen, the decision
to uphold the nullification may revolve around alleged perjured
testimony of former Kaohsiung City Government Information Office
Director Hsiao Yu-cheng, then-spokesman of Chen Chu's campaign
office. According to court records, Hsiao testified that Chen Chu
was not informed of any of the three press conferences held by her
campaign office to accuse KMT mayoral candidate Huang Chun-ying of
vote-buying. Chen Chi-feng noted that Hsiao's accounts immediately
were rebutted by the KMT's lawyers who played the recording of a TV
interview in which Chen Chu told the media on election day of plans
for one of the press conferences about her opponent's alleged
vote-buying scandal. Mr. Chen suggested that because of Hsiao's
supposed attempted cover up of Chen Chu's involvement, judges may
dismiss Mayor Chen's request to overturn the nullification. Chan
Yuan-hsiang, former Next Magazine correspondent and executive
secretary for former acting Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai, told AIT/K

that there is widespread speculation among local media that Chen Chu
will lose the case based on the weight of the evidence presented by
Huang Chun-ying's lawyers that points to perjury.

4. (SBU) According to the journalist Chen Chi-feng, if Chen Chu
loses her appeal, she is legally prohibited from running in the
supplementary election. Instead, many speculate that Chen Chi-mai
would run as the DPP candidate against the KMT's Huang Chun-ying in
a supplementary election. Fueling that speculation is that
Kaohsiung's newly-appointed vice mayor, Lin Ren-yi, has close ties
with Chen Chi-mai. [NOTE: Chen Chi-mai, who took over as Acting
Mayor of Kaohsiung when Frank Hsieh left the post to become Premier
in 2005, resigned in the wake of the 2005 Thai labor riots in
Kaohsiung as reported in reftel D.] Chen Chi-mai's resurrection in
local politics became possible only when his father, former
Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-general Chen Che-nan, was
absolved by a court of all corruption charges related to the Thai
labor scandal.

5. (SBU) It is also open knowledge in Kaohsiung that the local DPP
is making preparations for a supplementary mayoral election by
deploying Chen Chi-mai's team players, such as the new Vice-Mayor,
within the city government. Dr. Liao Da-chi, Professor of
International Relations at National Sun Yat-sen University,

TAIPEI 00002379 002 OF 002

indicated that the KMT is also busy preparing for the election, but
doubts Huang Chun-ying can win even this time around given his lack
of charisma and the negative fallout that may have come from the
nullification lawsuits. Although the KMT could field a different
candidate if the supplementary election is held, Lai Feng-wei,
Deputy Chair of the Kaohsiung City KMT office, indicated that Huang
Chun-ying still is the most qualified KMT candidate. According to
Lai, not only did Huang run well in the first election, but Huang
has pursued the nullification lawsuit with great conviction. Lai
said that Huang himself has great interest in running and that many
of Huang's supporters, including KMT officials, have urged him to
run if there is a supplementary election.

6. (SBU) Attorney Hung Kuo-chin told AIT/K that the Kaohsiung High
Court will probably reverse the first ruling, thus validating Chen
Chu's election and status as current mayor. Hung noted the first
District Court ruling has been criticized widely for breaching due
process of law as the appointed judge's opinions were not accepted
by the presiding judge (reftel b). An assistant of former KMT
mayoral candidate Huang Chun-ying told AIT/K that their own
lawyer(s) believe the chances of the High Court upholding the
nullification decision are about fifty-fifty. Huang Chun-ying, in
the meantime, he said, is keeping busy readying for the
supplementary election, knowing it will require far more than three
months to prepare for a full-blown mayoral election.

7. (SBU) Former DPP Kaohsiung City Chairman Chao Wen-nan, now a
Kaohsiung City official, expressed concern that blue-leaning judges
will issue a biased ruling in order to unseat the DPP in Kaohsiung.
Nevertheless, he argued, a KMT win in this suit would only serve to
unite and motivate DPP supporters, adversely affecting KMT hopes for
the upcoming legislative and presidential elections. Chao
acknowledged that former Acting Mayor Chen Chi-mai's team is now
preparing for a possible supplementary mayoral election, but said
they have been told by the DPP to keep a low profile.

8. (SBU) Comment. The final ruling on this mayoral nullification
case, especially should the nullification be upheld, has the
potential to become an issue in the upcoming 2008 Taiwan legislative
and presidential elections. The DPP would likely blame the result on
bias in a blue-leaning judiciary, while the KMT could claim a
victory over illegal DPP campaign tactics. End comment.



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