Wed, Jun 02, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Missing millions and hard numbers

By Jerome Keating

Millions are missing, yet no one is concerned. Millions are missing, yet no one accepts responsibility. Millions are missing, yet all seem in denial. The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP) continue to ignore their missing millions and focus only on 30,000.

Millions of dollars? No, we're not referring to the missing millions of KMT money, though lower-ranking party members should be concerned with who has been able to buy what, where and why.

The millions we refer to are votes -- the hard and fast tickets needed to win elections.

Numbers can be boring but they carry a truth. Percentages are deceptive; numbers don't lie. If only three people vote and I get two of those votes, to say I got 66 percent of the votes is better than saying I got two. So bear with this examination of numbers from the presidential elections of 1996, 2000 and 2004; they are crucial to the questions of accountability, subsequent denial and pathology.

Besides the admirably high percentage of voter turnout, simple arithmetic shows an increase of 2,148,303 votes cast between 1996 and 2004 (see Table 1). Who benefited? The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) did, but their numbers show an increase far greater than the increase in votes.

Look at the DPP results (see Table 2). In eight years, the DPP gained 4,197,384 votes.

What about the KMT figures?

With two sets of KMT candidates running as independents in 1996, the KMT and its related candidates received a total of 8,491,533 votes (see Table 3) to the DPP's 2,274,586.

KMT candidate Lien Chan (連戰) and independent candidate James Soong's (宋楚瑜) combined vote in 2000 was 7,590,445 (see Table 4) to the DPP's 4,977,737; but the DPP won because of the split. Other candidates got less than 1 percent, or 91,211 votes. After the election, Soong formed the PFP.

This year Lien and Soong on a KMT/PFP ticket got 6,442,452 votes to the DPP's 6,471,970.

These are the cold, hard numbers. In the give and take of eight years (four of which the KMT was in power and four of which it was not), the KMT lost and/or failed to gain approximately 4,197,384 votes. Who, then, was accountable for this?

In 2000, when Lien ran as the lead man, he took a shellacking. Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) as party chairman took the responsibility for the loss, but Soong's defection from the party was the major cause.

Still, even if Soong's votes were added to Lien's, the KMT vote total had already dropped by more than 900,000 votes. If the additional 1,890,000 votes cast that year were added in, it would make the loss over 2,790,000.

Lee took full blame for the losses in 2000, but his responsibility for them is debatable. This year, when Lee could not be blamed, the KMT still dropped another 1,147,993 votes. From where were they lost? From Lien's previous numbers? From Soong's? No one has addressed this matter. Post-election rhetoric has completely avoided this topic and how more than 4 million votes were lost in eight years.

Accountability has been fogged over with rhetoric.

What rhetoric have we heard? First, there were the insane theories on how the assassination attempt was fake. Forensics specialist Henry Lee (李昌鈺) blew those out of the water. Then there was the insistence on a recount, because with a victory of only 30,000, surely the DPP had cheated somewhere. The counting however was accurate, and the recount is proving only to be a distraction wasting money and time.

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