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KMT helps Su Tseng-chang in the DPP leadership race?

27/05/2012

In an article, Taipei Times reported the following:

Chai, Wu and Su Huan-chih yesterday afternoon demanded that the DPP call a Central Executive Committee meeting today to investigate alleged election fraud in New Taipei City (新北市).

The DPP national headquarters turned down the request for the meeting, but promised to launch an investigation.

Demands for the investigation focus around Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) — currently running for director of the DPP’s regional office in New Taipei City — who on Thursday accused his rival, Chang Hung-lu (張宏陸), of handing out lists of party members to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) officials in the city and asking KMT borough chiefs to campaign for Su Tseng-chang and Chang.

Acting DPP chairperson Chen Chu (陳菊) urged party members to vote tomorrow, with spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) adding that the leadership handover ceremony is scheduled to be held on Wednesday.

There are crucial details missing in this article. TWIMI has the most comprehensive coverage:

According to Lo Chih-cheng, on 22nd and 23rd May, all the borough chiefs in the Yong-he area received a letter through their local network, asking them to support Su Tseng-chang in the leadership race and Chang Hung-lu (supported by Su) for the directorship in the DPP New Taipei City regional office. The letter was signed by the deputy speaker of the New Taipei City Council, KMT’s Chen Hung-yuan (陳鴻源) and a KMT borough chief, Hsu Cheng-yang (許承煬). A separate sheet with DPP members’ names and addresses in the area was enclosed so that theborough chiefs could contact them.

Wu Rong-i (吳榮義) pointed out that all the candidates had signed a legal statement and sworn to keep all the member details they received completely confidential (as in only used by the candidate for the election and not shared with any external party or agency) and therefore, Su and Chang needed to explain. Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智) said that this was not only a disciplinary matter but a criminal offence. He added that if member details could be leaked to the KMT, they could also be leaked to the Chinese.

Hsu Cheng-yang admitted sending that letter out to get support for Chang. He said that he was only helping out of his personal friendship with Chang (which he rephrased after Chang denied knowing him as friendly feelings towards Chang for his good work when Chang was in the County government) and that he got those individual member details from his uncle, Hsu Yu-ming, who ran for the parliament for the DPP in the past.

DPP deputy Secretary-General, Hung Yao-fu (洪耀福) confirmed that the member details all matched the party’s record and those individuals were all the members eligible to vote in the current election (i.e. that information is the most up to date). The primary for the parliamentary election Hsu Yu-ming was in (2011) was all based on telephone poll and member details were not released to any candidate for campaign during that election. Therefore, it was impossible for Hsu Yu-ming to leak information to his nephew when he did not have that information in the first place. Hung also explained that member details were held in a secure system with no external access and to get the details, one would need login, password and authorisation. The level of detail one can see depends on the level of clearance they have.

The deputy speaker of New Taipei City Council Chen Hung-yuan’s response was interesting. His office said that Hsu’s staff included his name by mistake and that they had already asked for that version to be destroyed and therefore, they were puzzled as to how those copies got out. They emphasised that it was impossible for a deputy speaker to interfere in DPP’s internal electiona.

Well, I don’t know how or why a KMT borough chief would specifically include the deputy speaker (out of all the councillors) in that letter but a Taiwanese blogger, Black Rain, pointed out that this was not the first time we have heard about the KMT helping Su Tseng-chang in an election. Black Rain detailed the relevant media reports. In April 2011, Yazhou Zhoukan (Asia Weekly) reported that the KMT was using some of their local networks to support Su in the DPP presidential primary and Next Magazine specified that this happened in New Taipei City. This kind of allegations should be quite damaging to Su but to date, he has not confronted those two media outlets or sued them. The blogger pointed out that Su has always been observed to have great relationships with politicians in the blue camp. I won’t list all the indicators or evidence here but off the top of my head – A KMT central standing committee member and a New Taipei City Councillor could not have sung more praise about Su and openly said that he would have campaigned and vote for Su had Su run for the president.

Chang denied handing those details to the KMT borough chief. Both Su and Chang said that they did not know who gave those details to the KMT, implying that it could be anyone who had access. Chang even implied that it could be Lo who set him up. I agree with Black Rain that this is not very likely because Lo is new in New Taipei City and has limited local connections whereas Chang has been there for years. Would a KMT chief or deputy speaker help someone they don’t know well set his opponent up?

Black Rain also noted the silence in the media about the leak of DPP member details to the KMT and KMT’s alleged support for Su and Chang. He detailed what he saw in each outlet and posed some questions such as why blue friendly media did not leap at a perfect chance to tear the DPP or an influential DPP figure apart like they usually do? Why would they let this go? If Hsu was colluding with Lo, their intention would be to damage Su and Chang. Then, why would the blue friendly media let Su off?

This incident makes one wonder what else has been leaked to the KMT? Campaign strategies? Committee decisions? After losing the presidential election, one of the reasons Tsai attributed to her loss was that their organisations had been ‘broken’. She was very vague but could she have meant ‘penetrated’? If there was any truth in any of the above, who will be running the DPP in the future should Su be elected? More importantly, there are individual(s) in the DPP, whoever they are, that have mishandled their members’ personal details and violated their trust. If this is not looked into and dealt with, it may affect people’s willingness to join the party in the future.

By the way, I’d never heard of Hsu’s name until this week but Chen was a household name already because Sean Lien (連勝文) was shot in the face when campaigning for Chen during the 2010 Municipality elections. Chen stood only a few yards away from Lien when it happened. This incident affected the election results to certain extent as some voters switched their support to the KMT. In the end, the DPP won only Kaohsiung and Tainan when they could have won at least one more city. At the time, Tsai Ing-wen was running for the New Taipei Mayor’s office. A win would have given Tsai the key to get into or even take over Su’s base and networks, which might not be difficult because she gained considerable support during the campaign and lost by a margin closer than expected.

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