The DPP's Taipei mayoral nominee Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) gave a decent performance despite the odds stacked up against him, including his tough-to-beat opponent Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and a sluggish economy for which many blaming his party. Even more noteworthy is the crisis facing the DPP -- an emerging succession gap revealed by the process through which Lee became the DPP nominee.
\nWhile Lee may have lost the election, overall he did not come out empty handed. Not only did Ma fail to garner more than one million votes, which was allegedly the number of votes he was targeting, but his winning margin was smaller than anticipated by the numerous media polls.
\nMa and Lee respectively garnered around 870,000 and 470,000 votes, which rounded up to approximately 64 percent and 35 percent of the votes. These figures were roughly consistent with the DPP's own polls before the election. Lee's worst nightmare about getting only about 17 percent to 18 percent of the votes, as predicted by media polls, did not come true. Facing Ma, who is apparently able to miraculously penetrate ethnic and party lines, Lee at least managed to keep the traditional DPP supporters from drifting away.
\nEven more importantly, the process through which the mayoral nomination fell into Lee's lap has an entirely different impact for Lee personally and the DPP as a party. Lee was hand picked by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) as the Taipei mayoral nominee of the DPP when no one else was willing to stand against an extremely popular Mayor Ma. Poll after poll had consistently revealed that around 70 percent of the Taipei residents were satisfied with Ma's performance. While popular satisfaction with performance in office does not necessarily translate into votes, Ma nevertheless had a virtually guaranteed victory from the beginning.
\nUnder the circumstances, many DPP politicians who had previously indicated an intention to bid for the DPP's mayoral nomination, including lawmaker Sheng Fu-hsiung (
ILLUSTRATION: MOUNTAIN PEOPLE
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