Fri, Sep 25, 2015 - Page 8 News List

EDITORIAL: KMT still battling for pan-blue vote

The current presidential election campaign is different from previous campaigns.

Normally, the candidates make sure they stick to their respective parties’ stances to consolidate support from the party base. That done, they focus on soliciting the support of the biggest voter group, the “median voters,” who sit in the middle of the political spectrum.

However, this year, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is the only one following this strategy. The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) and the People First Party’s (PFP) James Soong (宋楚瑜) are still battling for the pan-blue camp’s voters and still have not started addressing undecided voters.

The pan-blue camp’s prospects are looking dim this time around, to the point where pan-blue candidates have to struggle to maintain their core voter support. Soong, who is entering the fray for the fourth time, is busy visiting old friends to build local support. In the 2000 election, Soong received 4.66 million votes, a number that has dropped in every consecutive election he has contested after that, but although pundits can only speculate how many votes he will win this time around, his candidacy worries both Hung and the KMT. The KMT is tasking its heavyweights with hitting the campaign trail while also mobilizing the Central Standing Committee and the state apparatus to guarantee at least 2.92 million votes, the number former vice president Lien Chan (連戰) received in the 2000 election. If the party does not even garner the 23 percent of the vote Lien received then, the question is how many legislative seats it will be able to keep.

The DPP’s goal is to win an absolute majority both in the presidential and the legislative elections, leaving the KMT and the PFP to fight with the smaller parties for the remaining seats. A fight between the KMT and the PFP could well turn ugly and turn voters to a third party, of which there are many: the Republic Party, the Social Welfare Party, the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union, the Social Democratic Party and the New Power Party.

The KMT and the PFP are both afraid of coming third in the polls because that could result in voters abandoning the smaller party to vote for the bigger, and they are therefore courting traditional pan-blue supporters instead of turning to median voters. While members of the KMT’s Central Standing Committee complain that Hung is not campaigning in central and southern Taiwan, Tsai is turning toward Hakka and Aboriginal communities, traditionally strong sources of pan-blue support.

As defeat in the presidential election seems all but certain, the KMT and the PFP are naturally focusing on the legislative elections. The PFP currently has a limited number of seats, and its candidates are relying on Soong’s candidacy to create enough momentum to bring in a few more at-large seats. As for the KMT, its incumbent legislators still enjoy local support, but the weakness of the party’s presidential candidate means that they are all on their own: While they may want the support of the party’s presidential candidate, they never know if Hung might say something to scare off potential voters if she were to show up at one of their rallies. Small wonder, then, that there is constant murmuring that Hung might be replaced.

This story has been viewed 2513 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top