Returning to Feng-Mang County: The Success and Failure of the Kuomintang Political Machine





Published date: 

六月, 2004


Chin-shou Wang


With two elections in the same locale, this paper studies the importance of vote-buying to the Kuomintang political machine. The author argues that the role of vote-buying in the KMT political machine is similar to that of lubricating oil in an engine. Without vote-buying, the KMT political machine can not function well.

In the successful election of 1993, there were seven serious obstacles faced by the KMT on the way to building a successful political machine: (1) the scarcity of brokers, (2) the potential incompetence of
brokers, (3) factionalism within clientelistic networks, (4) overlaps in factional and broker-level networks, (5) embezzlement, (6) unpredictable managers of mobilizations, and (7) limited funds for vote-buying. Forty-five percent of the voters who accepted the money for vote-buying did not vote for the KMT candidate. However, the obstacles'importance was less than vote-buying.

In the 2000 presidential election, the KMT documents showed that the party used many brokers to mobilize voters. However, without votes-buying, these people in the KMT broker list would not have regarded themselves as brokers, and did not know how to mobilize voters.