Welcome to the Election Day live blog. Whether you’re in Taiwan or observing from elsewhere, please check in with your thoughts. Mail me at Jonathan.firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me @jonlsullivan.
Wrapping up the live blog. Look out for regular posts from Sunday. Thanks to everyone who wrote in, commented, tweeted and joined me cover Election Day in Taiwan 2012. Tsai Ing-wen fought an excellent campaign and offered a plausible alternative to incumbent Ma Ying-jeou. She delivered the DPP’s second best showing in a presidential election, and the best by a non-incumbent DPP candidate. Her concession, and resignation from the party leadership, was extraordinarily dignified. Taiwan loses, not just the DPP, if she doesn’t play some kind of political role. Ma won more than 50% of the vote and the blues will control 70/113 seats. That is a decisive victory (don’t compare to 2008)-given the record Ma has to defend and given a strong opponent. The election proceeded peacefully and without major incident. The votes were counted quickly and transparently. The winners celebrated and the losers commiserated–peacefully. The nature of electoral competition is that there are winners and losers- my congratulations to KMT supporting readers, commiserations to DPP supporters. Finally, the Taiwanese people should be very proud for smoothly conducting this election under the watching eyes of the world.
Here are all the stats for legislative election result and president. In terms of presidential voting, with the exception of Ilan County, the whole of northern Taiwan is blue. Moreover, winning in central Taiwan means the blue has pushed the green into a far southern enclave.
TV reporting Legislative seat distribution (I don’t think that’s official yet, but TV’s pretty accurate): KMT 64, DPP 40, PFP 3, TSU 3, Ind. 3. In effect that’s 70 blue seats and 43 green. Greens have improved on the massacre in 2008 (27 seats), but still, Ma will have a relatively comfortable ride. 64 seats is pretty much the best KMT could have hoped for.
The remaining 34 at-large legislative seats are distributed to party list candidates on basis of the national vote, which currently looks like this: KMT 48%, DPP 36%, TSU 9%, PFP 5%
Update on the legislative count. The 73 constituency based seats plus 6 seats reserved for Aborigines are distributed as follows: KMT 48, DPP 27, Others (blue) 4.
Turns out, the much maligned “Blue” Taiwanese media polls were spot on
Prof Gary Rawnsley commented: “I would have been surprised if the incumbent did not win. At this stage in Taiwan’s democratic consolidation a one term presidency is unlikely.” Many prognosticators, including myself, were hoodwinked by the momentum Tsai built up during her campaign and by the Ma campaigns ineptitude; turns out it didn’t decide the result.
Presidential result is now official: Ma 6,891,139 (51.6%), Tsai 6,093,578 (45.6), Soong 369,588 (2.8%)
Tsai Ing-wen’s 45-46% is the DPP’s second best showing in a presidential election. Chen Shui-bian won the presidency with 39% in 2000, and was re-elected with 50.1%. This is further reason why I say this should be interpreted as a Ma victory: the DPP fielded a first rate candidate, ran an excellent campaign, mobilized dissatisfaction with Ma’s record over the last 4 years, and yet Ma still won with more than 50%. This was not a case of the DPP shooting itself in the foot. And it wasn’t a case of voters not knowing what they’re going to get with Ma in power for another 4 years. Granted, 46% of people opposing what he’s offering is substantial, but a majority are in favour.
Coverage coming in from global media. WaPo goes with “Taiwan’s pro-China president wins reelection”
Blogger Ben Goren (citing Sinica research fellow Nathan Batto) says that this is a ‘bad win’ for Ma given his performance in 2008. I respectfully disagree. First, there’s no such thing as a bad win. Second, comparing vote share in 2012 to 2008 is comparing apples and oranges: the context of both elections is completely different. Such was the disillusionment with Chen Shui-bian in 2008, that any candidate standing against Frank Hsieh would have won a landslide. Furthermore, in 2008, Ma did not have four years’ of governing history to defend, this time he did. And despite all of the dissatisfaction with his record that we talked about before the election, he still won with more than 50%. Third, Tsai Ing-wen was a more effective candidate than Frank Hsieh (although the hand he was dealt was very disadvantageous its true). And yet Ma still got 52% or thereabouts. Fourth, unlike in 2008, voters this time round knew with much more certainty what Ma was about–they had four years’ of presidential experience to go on. This was the opportunity to reject what he was offering-and not enough people saw fit to.
Tsai Ing-wen: “we’ll be back, we won’t give in, will keep fighting for Taiwan”
Tsai Ing-wen demonstrating how to lose with grace–moving and v impressive message
Tsai Ing-wen making her concession: “Taiwan can’t not have an opposition voice”
Going to do BBC World Service Newshour. Back here in an hour. The presidential result looks pretty definitive to me. Remaining question is how many seats can DPP secure in Legislature. Obvious improvement on the 2008 massacre, but Ma is likely to have another smooth ride in next four years
DPP was hoping for 50 seats in Legislature; that is not going to happen (by some way).
This in from Ben Goren:
“Looks like the DPP will regain many of the Legislative Yuan seats they lost in 2008 but lose the Presidential election by 3-4%. A bad victory for Ma given his 17% margin of victory in 2008. I’m predicting about 40 – 45 seats for the DPP”
TV reporting 11 million votes; Ma’s lead 700K
79 Legislative seats declared: KMT 50, DPP 25 (4 others incl. 3 Ind. 1 PFP =Blue+4)
Ma ahead in CEC
Ma camp already congratulating themselves at HQ
TV has Ma ahead by 700K on 10 million votes
Now having got counts on 5.2 mil, CEC has it tied (to two decimal places!)
DPP figures on TV are utterly downcast
Those of you hoping the TV is wrong, and holding onto the lead CEC is giving Tsai, there is no conspiracy here. The TV is reporting on a much larger number of votes–as they are counted. The CEC has to wait for the polling station to send its figures in
Disparity between CEC reporting and what you see on TV. On approx 3 million votes counted CEC gives Tsai 50%. On approx. 8 million votes TV gives Ma 52%. I believe the disparity is in the TV calculating votes as they are announced at the count, whereas CEC waits for poll station count to be completed. But I could be wrong.
Ben Goren checking in: “CEC website says Tsai is in front but all TV stations are reporting Ma ahead. Didn’t we see this trend in 2004 and 2000.”
Mild surprise: Soong is already irrelevant. If Ma showing so far is indication of equal dominance in legislative election, Soong’s political career is finally finished
Collection of photos from WSJ showing Ma and Tsai voting
Paul Katz checks in with this: “At this point, it looks like Ma will coast to a 7-8 percentage point win. This is quite surprising, as is the total evaporation of Soong’s support. Based on the outpouring of popular enthusiasm for Tsai, I had assumed that Taiwan’s voters might have been able to overturn the stereotypical notion that Asian voters prefer stability over change (ever notice how “安定” sounds so similar to “唯穩”?) It looks like I was wrong.”
This might be more of an issue than we thought: Richard Kagan comments on why the US should support Taiwan and seek to slow integration with China.
In Hakka strongholds, Ma is polling double number of Tsai votes
The election commission reports that voting went smoothly, bar a couple of incidents of people tearing up their ballots and activists electioneering at polling stations without permission.
“I slept well last night, I am in a good mood and I feel very confident,” Tsai told reporters after casting her ballot near Taipei. Pic of Tsai casting her ballot here.
“I am happy to see some sunshine today. This will help the turnout rate. I hope everybody will go to vote early,” Ma said as he cast his ballot in Taipei.
v. early count Ma 950K, Tsai 800K, Soong 50K. Don’t over-interpret
Early counts are being reported, but far too early to say anything about it. Ma is leading and Soong’s support looks to have collapsed. BUT don’t read anything into it yet.
All the data you need from past presidential and legislative elections is available here (in Chinese). Previous results should give us a quick indication of how competitive Tsai is going to be
@michalthim writes on Twitter: CEC estimates that around 5pm 10-20% of votes will be counted, official results around 10pm (that’s 2pm UK time)
Polls close in 10 minutes! Any reports of queues/hold-ups/people unable to vote?
DPP’s Li Ying-yuan is on. He ran against Ma Ying-jeou for Taipei Mayor in 2002. Ran a brilliant advertising campaign, but Ma was far too strong. Li’s campaign had a bunch of “Ma is ineffective” ads, a frame that resurfaced in 2012.
Images I’m seeing on Taiwanese TV, of huge crowds of people watching the news channels on big screens, is reminiscent of the World Cup!
These are the 5 main things I’m looking for as the results unfold
If you’re new to Taiwanese elections and are joining late, you might want to check out my 101 guide to what’s happening today.
Nick Dobson (@riceagain) has some good pointers for results day resources
The hectoring style of the political talking heads on Taiwanese TV is incompatible with an early morning start; but I shall persevere. Watching here http://bit.ly/zRnSUT. Guy did make a nice point though: when Tsai Ing-wen went to cast her ballot she lined up behind others like a regular voter would. Shouty guy asked rhetorically: can you see Ma Ying-jeou lining up?
Good morning and welcome. Its cold and dark here in England, but 6000 miles away, Taiwanese are voting for their next president and members of parliament. I’ll be here from now until all the votes are in (polls close 4pm in Taiwan) and counted (with this first combined election, this could go on for quite a while), with analysis. Its pretty lonely on campus right now, so if you have something to share about Taiwan 2012, please join me.