Tue, Dec 26, 2017 - Page 8 News List

The Liberty Times Editorial: Consensus-building and elections

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) have both completed the first stage of their nomination procedures for next year’s local elections.

The DPP’s incumbent county commissioners and city mayors — including the leaders of Keelung, Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Taichung, as well as Changhua, Yunlin, Chiayi, Pingtung and Penghu counties — were all renominated.

DPP Chairperson and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said that “political achievement is the best publicity,” but former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has predicted that the DPP would meet with disaster in Yilan, Changhua, Chiayi and Penghu counties. If the governments in Hsinchu, Taichung and Yunlin County do not improve, they could be in for some changes as well.

KMT candidates have only completed the nomination process in Miaoli, Nantou, Changhua and Lienchiang counties.

Democratic elections are technically a competition between contestants, but the overall goal is national improvement.

DPP campaigning shows that its leadership is confident, while the KMT, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and the New Power Party (NPP) have been keeping more of a low profile.

The DPP has the advantage of incumbency and its eagerness to take action is not necessarily a bad thing.

In some constituencies, candidates want to remove obstacles to the 2020 presidential election, and they will stop at nothing to do that. Regardless of how passionate they are, they must take a sober look at the overall situation to make sure that they do not stumble and fall.

Yilan County Acting Commissioner Derek Chen (陳金德) has introduced positive farmland-related policies, and although these policies might have resulted from political calculation, it remains uncertain whether they will change the DPP’s standing in Yilan. If the DPP’s election prognosis is wrong and it has sacrificed its ideals, it would not be worth it.

In Taipei, DPP Legislator Pasuya Yao (姚文智) has announced his bid for the Taipei mayorship, winning the support of several DPP legislators and city councilors, although his position in the polls is not looking good.

The KMT some time ago said that their nomination strategy for Taipei would depend on whether the DPP and Ko continued to collaborate. Reading between the lines, the KMT is hoping for a falling out, with itself as the benefactors.

The best solution for the DPP is to engineer as great a national consensus as possible.

In Kaohsiung — always prepared for a fight — candidates are taking aim at each other. The party primaries would have been a great opportunity to put a wealth of talent on display, but the candidates are instead engaging in factional infighting.

One can only guess what Kaohsiung residents are thinking and wonder if the DPP is not worried that it could follow in the footsteps of the KMT, which lost Kaohsiung after having held it for a long time.

If decades-old hostilities hamper the party primaries and the election campaign because factional interests are placed above the party’s interests, the party will deteriorate into disunity, or might even see splits and internecine strife.

Kaohsiung has all along been the constituency that KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) most wanted to win back. If the DPP messes things up on its own, there will be significant political reverberations. The outcome will depend on whether the KMT will be able to shape its policies according to public opinion.

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