Sun, Jul 27, 2003 - Page 8 News List

DPP should stick to what it knows

By Chen Fang-ming 陳芳明

In preparation for next year's presidential election, the DPP has decided its campaign strategy: drawing a battle line between the pro-reform and anti-reform sides. With this strategy, the DPP can advance or retreat freely, while pushing the pan-blue camp into a defensive position.

Viewed from an offensive perspective, the DPP can emphasize its efforts to boost the economy and enact a referendum law (公投法), thereby highlighting its tendency to push for reform. Viewed from a defensive perspective, the DPP can publicize the achievements of its four-year-old regime, as well as the evidence of the pan-blue camp's anti-reform moves over the past few years. Under such circumstances, the ruling party can show that it pursues a desirable future for the Taiwanese people and refresh the voters' memories that this is its strength. By constantly taking control of political issues, it will turn the voice of reform into mainstream society.

Judging from the overall situation, I believe that the momentum of the KMT-PFP alliance has weakened -- because the alliance has repeatedly failed to dominate political issues. Plus, due to the unhappy marriage of the two political parties, the possibility of a split has gradually emerged in the pan-blue camp.

The blue camp's campaign strategy mostly focuses on creating the false impression of a united KMT-PFP alliance. This thinking is shaped by historical factors, as the two parties believe that the DPP will have no chance to win if they do not split apart. As a result, the blue camp is making all efforts to pretend to be united. Naturally, such unity is a hardship, because both the KMT and the PFP clearly know that the basis for unity does not exist.

The cooperation between KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) is not equal to cooperation between their parties. On the surface, Lien is the presidential candidate. But Soong is in fact the leader of the alliance. Not long ago, Soong visited the KMT's headquarters and promised to its members that he will abide by his role as a vice-presidential candidate. Is it necessary for any sincere deputy to make such a promise? The move only enlarges the shadow Soong casts over the KMT. Before the presidential election in next March, perhaps Soong will feel compelled to make more promises to the KMT: a sign that the foundation of the KMT-PFP alliance is very fragile.

Indeed, the split of the blue camp before the 2000 presidential election three years ago was crucial to the DPP's victory. However, there were many other reasons that contributed to the victory, among which the DPP's reform promises were a key to its success. The DPP has been flexible and vigorous at all times, and marched forward in line with the dynamic of the entire society. Besides, the DPP does not have the baggage of any party-run businesses, and it's incapable of moving money from state coffers to itself -- not to mention that it has no record of corruption. What deserves our attention is that the DPP has repeatedly proposed new reform issues recently. Such reform issues echo the drastic changes of society.

Historically, the blue camp is hardly able to confidently say it can satisfy people's demand for reform. Both Lien and Soong are merely playing the role of political commentators. The establishment of the KMT-PFP alliance has shown that it's more suitable for the blue camp to remain in opposition. Since the outward appearance (Lien) of the alliance does not correspond with the inner (Soong), it has failed to dominate political issues. It seems to me that the pan-blue camp is doomed to be led by the pan-green camp.

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