2014 Local Elections - Taipei City Council District 2 Campaign Posters
With about forty days left until the 9-in-1 local elections (Saturday, 29 November 2014, polls open from 8 am to 4pm), more and more campaign billboards and posters are going up in Taipei City. The various candidates haven’t yet been allocated their ballot numbers but the better funded runners, here in Neihu at least, look to have snapped much of the best ‘real estate’ already. Last weekend, I took a quick ride around half of District 2 to see whose faces were dominating the visual landscape.
As can be seen below, District 2 is electing nine candidates from a total of fourteen running. This district has about 384,000 residents of which about 200,000 are eligible to vote.
In the 2010 elections, District 2 had 201,841 registered voters, and a turnout of 71.38%, with 141,819 valid ballots cast. The following candidates were elected:
Elected, in order of most votes gained:
- 黃珊珊 - Huang Shan-shan (PFP) - 19,765
- 陳義洲 - Chen Yi-chou (KMT) - 19,455
- 吳世正 - Wu Shih-cheng (KMT) - 18,615
- 高嘉瑜 - Kao Chia-yu (DPP) - 16,329
- 李彥秀 - Lee Yen-hsiu (KMT) - 12,147
- 江志銘 - Jiang Zhi-ming (DPP) - 11,359
- 王孝維 - Wang Hsiao-wei (DPP) - 11,191
- 李建昌 - Lee Chien-chang (DPP) - 10,262
- 闕枚莎 - Chieh Mei-sha (KMT) - 9,787
Not elected but deposit returned:
- Li Ying-hsuan (Green Party) - 3,638
- Ho Yen-tai (KMT) - 3,832
As we can see from these figures, Neihu/Nangang is a pretty solid pan-blue district capturing five of the nine seats. Nevertheless, the fact that the PFP candidate got the most votes, the DPP won four of the seats, and the Green Party got enough votes to secure their deposit (despite the candidate running for election for the first time and with little to no financial support or publicity) indicates a slight rebelliousness within the electorate. This is no Da’an so there’s the chance a strong new candidate from another party could capture a significant proportion of the vote share. (More analysis at the Frozen Garlic Blog here)
On to the posters, let’s see who’s splashing the cash and what their messages are …
First up, Chieh Mei-sha (闕枚莎) who tells us she is guarding happiness for women and children. Some candidates like to include their accomplishments on their campaign materials. Here Chieh tells us she succeeded in gaining one bottle of milk (daily?) for all children in Taipei City.
Lawyer Huang Shan-shan (黃珊珊) of the PFP, the gross winner by votes in 2010, says little more than ‘thank you voters’.
Chen Yi-chou (陳義洲), the strongest of the KMT’s candidates, has a number of adverts, including the sides of buses (the bus companies / advertising agencies love elections). Chen proclaims he is hard working and sincerely asks voters for their support once again.
Literally, on the other side of the bus in that picture above was another advert for an opposing party’s candidate (yes, I chased ahead of the bus to photograph both sides once I realised they were different)
It’s Lee Chien-chang (李建昌) of the DPP, here also proclaiming himself as a guardian of Neihu and Nangang whilst trying to leverage the appeal of Independent Taipei City Mayor candidate Ko Wen-jr (who the DPP is asking their supporters to vote for).
The KMT’s Lee Yen-hsiu (李彥秀) takes a more minimal approach and stays away from displaying any party emblem. Her message is also brief and to the point - ‘Devoting all my efforts for you’.
Wang Xiao-wei (王孝維) of the DPP is another candidate looking to benefit from being associated with Ko. Here he stresses efficient supervision of the City Government and getting real work done to benefit the people of the city. This is a little more specific than most of the candidates are on their posters but the winner of the prize for Being Totally Upfront About His Values & Goals is …
… Wu Shih-cheng (吳世正). He vows to make politics right. According to Wu, if you elect him you can be sure there will be “no red envelopes, no dodgy land investment business, and no subcontracting for construction.” Given the KMT’s intimate links with big business, the construction industry, and the party elite’s vast land holdings, this is quite an interesting approach for Wu to take. I have been told that he is basically recycling these posters from 2010 and if so then perhaps his novel take partly explains why he came third with the second highest number of votes for any KMT candidate in the district.
in 2010, former President Chen Shui-bian’s One Country One Side Alliance won 30 of 37 city council races, including an impressive five seats in Taipei City of which one was won by Jiang Zhi-ming (江志銘) above. I visited his campaign offices and will be dissecting his campaign brochure in more detail later in another post. His posters are fairly ubiquitous but contain little in the way of a message except for the characters for happiness. hope and brotherhood. (The poster directly below his however is very interesting and appears to be an advert for a Israel / Zionist Taiwan centre or representative office).
Finally, one of the indicators of the strength of an electoral system and democracy is whether it facilitates a multiplicity of candidates to run. I’m not sure if the Green Party is running a candidate in District 2 this year but one of its former high ranking members has formed an offshoot (forgive the pun) called the Tree Party. Its candidate is Yu Xiao-jing whose poster emphasises caring for all generations and investing in education. As far as I know she is also the only able-challenged candidate running in the election, and might also be the youngest.
There’s still some time to go so I expect I’ll be seeing some more posters around the district and perhaps some more by challenging candidates seeking to oust one of the incumbents. In the meantime, available advertising space is rapidly being bought out as is illustrated in this picture of a large intersection near the Tri-Service General Hospital.
Three incumbents are featured but also included is Zhao Jia-rong of the New Party (yellow sign). Still no flags in District 2 yet (as Frozen Garlic points out here) but I’m fairly sure we’ll be seeing them shortly after the candidate numbers are announced. In contrast, Froze notes that there’s a lot more election atmosphere down in Pingtung. Seriously though, if you’re psephologist focusing on Taiwan then I’d highly recommend making FG your first port of call as he is without doubt the pre-eminent foreign academic in this area. Another online location that will be providing lots of coverage will be Ballots & Bullets, run by the excellent Professor Sullivan at the University of Nottingham.