Saturday 24 Oct 2020 | 00:32 | SYDNEY
Saturday 24 Oct 2020 | 00:32 | SYDNEY

Déjà vu in Taiwan?


Malcolm Cook

4 October 2011 15:48

History from 2000 may repeat itself in 2012, due to the political choice of one man, James Soong.

In 2000, the 'pan-blue' (rock the cross-Strait status quo boat less) side of Taiwan politics lost the presidency. Despite gaining a clear majority, its vote was split between two candidates, James Soong from the PFP and Lien Chan from the KMT. This allowed the 'pan-green' (more favourable towards formal independence) side of politics and its sole candidate, Chen Shui-bian from the DPP, to win with a plurality of 39.3%.

Taiwanese flags and the KMT party flag (centre). (Courtesy of Flickr user Taekwonweirdo.)

In 2004, James Soong switched tack completely and joined Lien Chan's presidential ticket as the vice-presidential candidate, unifying the pan-blue side of politics against the unified pan-green side under the incumbent Chen Shui-bian. Chen narrowly won re-election by 0.22%. In 2008, the pan-blue side again ran one candidate, the KMT's Ma Ying-Jeou and who easily beat the pan-green candidate, the DPP's Frank Hsieh, while Soong stayed out of the fray.

James Soong has recently declared his interest in running again in the  January 2012 presidential campaign as the PFP candidate against the KMT incumbent Ma Ying-jeou and the single pan-green candidate, the DPP's Tsai Ing-wen (who is off for a political tour of Japan).

Unsurprisingly, the KMT is not happy with Soong's return to the fray on the pan-blue side but in opposition to them. If Soong can gather the necessary 257,695 signatures needed to register as a candidate, Taiwan could witness a repeat of the 2000 election. Definitely worth watching.