The public is looking for someone with vision. People want to see a team in which tasks are assigned carefully and meticulously to lay out plans and put them into action. The problem with Ma and Tsai is they have too much in common. While their work styles may differ to some extent, they are both controversial. If Ma and Tsai go on as they are without making any changes, the gap between them will be pretty small as the election approaches. It will be a hard choice for voters, who would like to see some real change.
Many people think that holding presidential and legislative elections at the same time will be bad for the DPP, especially because bringing forward the date of the presidential election will deprive some young people of the chance to cast their first ballot.
However, there are still plenty of people who will reach the voting age of 20 before the twin elections, which will be held on Jan. 14.
Voters these days are more capable than ever of making their own minds up. Even firm adherents of the pan-blue and pan-green camps may shift their positions. The recent spat between Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) and Legislator John Chiang (蔣孝嚴), who were both running for nomination as the KMT’s legislative candidate in Taipei’s Zhongshan-Songshan (中山-松山) electoral district, is a case in point.
The only real difference in next year’s election is that the presidential vote will be the main attraction, taking attention away from the legislative poll. Still, it won’t be hard for the pan-blue camp to win more than half the legislative seats. When you take away the party’s 16 safe seats and the 34 legislator-at-large seats, that leaves just 63 constituencies up for grabs, with more in the north than in the south.
Moreover, the tension surrounding the presidential election could spur more voters to take part in the legislative election, which should be good for the KMT’s prospects in that vote. Although the two main parties will plan their campaigns carefully and do anything they can to win, no one can predict the outcome with confidence. Besides, victory is not decided by wisdom alone and the unexpected can always happen.
The pan-blue and pan-green camps are both duty-bound to respect the democratic system. As moderate parties, they must do their best to win, but they must also accept the outcome, whatever it may be. As in any game of chance, those who place their bets must accept the risk of loss. Both parties have to present their policies to convince the public and the final outcome will be decided by the voters.
Lu I-ming is the former publisher and president of Taiwan Shin Sheng Daily News.
TRANSLATED BY JULIAN CLEGG