It’s a preview of things to come. Four years after our experience with recounts and the ever-forgetful hanging chads, Taiwan is having to deal with much the same thing. Following a closely contested March 20 election, the opposition party is screaming foul. And because of the divisive nature of Taiwanese politics at this time, they’ve got plenty of support.
But not only was it a close election, the mysterious shooting of the incumbent on the last day of campaigning, opponents say, led to his victory as public opinion shifted his way.
Let the conspiracy theories abound.
The AP reported Sunday that these developments have left Taiwan in an undesirable state.
Police on Sunday dragged away demonstrators who for the past week had been blocking the boulevard in front of Presidential Office. Nearly a half-million protesters had gathered in the area Saturday to protest the disputed March 20 election, which has split society and battered financial markets.
Aside from the Taiwanese conspiracy theories, a close election this Nov. is sure to bring challenges, recounts and bitter political posturing to this side of the Pacific.
And we’d be likely to see protests and massive demonstrations. After all, a redo of the 2000 elections is sure to incite the passions of just about everyone. In the eyes of Bush’s detractors, he still remains an illegitimate president. Certainly, any sort of close election will be met with calls of disenfranchisement and sly political maneuvering.
This is our 2000 contribution to democratic politics: recounts and partisan bickering. Taiwan has learned the lesson well.
One thing’s for sure, though. I don’t expect President Bush or Vice-President Dick Cheney to mysteriously take a grazing bullet to shore up the White House. For now, we can only hope this fall’s elections to be handled in a civil manner.