Wed, Dec 01, 2004 - Page 8 News List

The greens should give thanks to the blues

By Chin Heng-wei 金恆煒

Everyone says that the Demo-cratic Progressive Party (DPP) are skilled electoral campaigners. After being in existence for only 13 years, they managed to defeat the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and take over the leadership of the country. In the 2001 legislative elections, the DPP became the largest party in the Legislative Yuan, and in the March presidential election, it won over 1.5 million votes from the pan-blue camp. These facts are proof of the DPP's electoral skill.

The DPP's victories have pushed the KMT into decline. If the KMT does not put aside its party-state ideology and reform its highly-centralized power structure, then the DPP, or the pan-green camp, is the only reasonable choice to for national leadership.

To under-stand the DPP's success, we only have to see how KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) has maintained his hold on party power despite repeated defeats. In the legislative elections, will the pan-blue camp, under the command of Lien and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) finally be polished off?

Under President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) leadership, the DPP has brought out one issue after another and left the pan-blue camp reeling. The pan-blues have been put on the defensive, unable to find any effective campaign issues. The KMT has been unwilling to relinquish its assets and its party-state ideology, so what other cards does it have to play? Lien's accusations of DPP corruption and slamming Chen for being both president and chairman of his party as being no different from a party-state are simply absurd.

Unable to change themselves, the pan-blue camp can only try to drag the pan-green camp down to its own level with such accusations. To believe that this is a viable strategy is to insult voters' intelligence.

The pan-blue camp's lack of an electoral platform is not its greatest weakness -- it's the fact that they have lost the initiative and are only able to respond to the DPP's initiatives.

Because the DPP is the ruling party, many of its senior members are in the Cabinet or preparing to stand for county commissioner or mayoral positions. Its strategy has been to make this election a face-off with the KMT, and key party members from the president down have been rushing around stumping for the party's candidates. They haven't overshadowed the candidates, as critics suggest, but are displaying the overwhelming force that will bring in a legislative majority.

Then there is the issue of Soong and Lien's refusal to concede the March election and the pan-blue camp's refusal to renounce the one-party state.

Put another way, the DPP is making the best possible use of its advantage as the ruling party to put pressure on the opposition. With the level of support that the pan-blue camp now retains, Lien and Soong are leaders of parties on the brink of disaster.

In the face of the massive forces being brought against them, Soong and Lien only have the support of Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-ping (王金平).

Lien and Soong's appeal is diminishing by the day, and they are now only able to rely on votes from pan-blue loyalists. With Wang's and Ma's appeal being divided up among the KMT, PFP and New Party, the effect they can bring to bear is limited. The effectiveness of the pan-blue camp machinery is no match for the pan-green forces, and this is quite apart from the disruptive events that the pan-blue camp has orchestrated since the March 20 election.

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