Taiwan Headlines, Feb. 22, 2021

The government is moving toward lifting its ban on foreign visitors to Taiwan next month, two months after the ban was introduced in January in response to a new variant of the coronavirus.
They also plan to relax home isolation rules for people who had come into close contact with Taiwanese travelers who test positive for COVID-19.

Starting as early as early March, all 332,000 medical personnel nationwide are to have priority access to COVID-19 vaccine shots.

Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) has announced that he will seek re-election as KMT chair in the July election.
Chiang vowed to serve as a “kingmaker” by searching for competitive candidates for the KMT to win local government elections in 2022 and the presidential vote in 2024.
He also ruled out running for president himself in 2024.
That is a smart political move.
He’s low in the polls, but by removing himself from 2024 consideration, he’s opened up the possibility of finding strong allies to back him in the chair race.
He’s young enough that he has plenty of time to pursue presidential ambitions in the future.
Meanwhile, Jaw Shaw-kong said that while “he may not want to be party chair”, he is “definitely running for president”.
He also is claiming supporters of former KMT presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu “up to now all support me” and going on to say many others support him as well.
For more analysis and context on this subject, check out the deep dive on this issue in the recent Taiwan Report News Brief show “Jaw upends the KMT in a big way”.

In a series of hypothetical matchups in the 2022 Taoyuan mayor race, an ET Today poll showed the DPP dominating the matchups, with only one KMT candidate with a tiny lead over one DPP candidate by less than half a percent.
It showed Han Kuo-yu losing against all proposed DPP candidates badly.
Johnny Chiang was also polled, and he would lose as well, but not by as big margins as Han.
Popular 2-term DPP Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan will be term-limited out in 2022.

Taipei Mayor and Taiwan People’s Party chair Ko Wen-je has agreed to join a KMT organized ‘Vision Taiwan 2030’ forum, and will share a stage with Johnny Chiang.
Speculation on potential cooperation between the parties is rife.
As one KMT lawmaker put it, “our potential supporters overlap.”

The KMT has announced that it has collected about 600,000 signatures for each of its two proposed referendums; ractopamine pork and referendum scheduling.
They also stated that it has surpassed the threshold for a referendum proposal to continue and that it will carry out a thorough review of the signatures.
If approved, both measures will be on the ballot on August 28.

According to an internal DPP January poll, Premier Su Tseng-chang’s dissatisfaction with the public has hit 47.2%, higher than the 43.5% who expressed satisfaction.
This confirms some recent polls that also suggested he had passed the so-called “death crossing”.
Premiers generally have lasted roughly a year and a half since 2000, and at 2 years 38 day he’s served the third-longest single term since that year.
However, he also served well over a year in the same position under President Chen Shui-bian, making him number one since 2000 and the person to have held the position for the second-longest length since martial law was lifted–after Lien Chan of the KMT.
Traditionally, premiers have been public punching bags for the administration, and presidents usually go through several.

Four former officials of the Military Intelligence Bureau have been indicted for alleged violation of the National Security Act and the National Intelligence Service Law by passing confidential intelligence to China after their retirement.
If found guilty, the defendants will face a minimum prison term of three years under the National Intelligence Service Law.

Hon Hai has announced that the MIH Open Platform pushed by the company is expected to introduce one electric bus and two passenger cars in the October-December period this year.
For more on this subject, check out the recent Taiwan Report News Brief show “The world grows dependant on Taiwan’s tech giants” which goes into this in some depth.

The Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) has raised its forecast for Taiwan’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2021 to 4.64 percent, up from the estimate of 3.83 percent made in November.
The government has also more than doubled its export forecast, but is warning it will put pressure on the NT$ to rise.

Image courtesy of Su Tseng-chang’s FB page

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