Sat, Nov 01, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Pan-blue camp criticizes its own campaign

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party Chairman Lien Chan praises Madame Chiang Kai-shek at a special ceremony yesterday morning. The event was held in memory of the former first lady by women's groups across the nation at the party's Taipei headquarters.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

Numerous members of the pan-blue alliance have voiced concern and frustration about the alliance's campaign strategy in promoting their own men in the run-up to the March presidential election, especially after a mass rally staged by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) last Saturday and recent polls showing the DPP leader is gaining on their candidates.

"The party's campaign strategy has been too conservative," criticized Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hsu Chung-hsiung (徐中雄), who is also a member of the party's Central Standing Committee. "It lacks liveliness and flexibility in leading topics of policies and campaign issues."

KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) is teaming up with People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) in the upcoming presidential election to challenge President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) re-election bid.

Although the Lien-Soong ticket has consistently stayed ahead in polls, a survey conducted by the DPP following Saturday's march suggested that Chen had narrowed the gap to 2.3 percent.

Political observers noted the surge in Chen's support rate was largely due to last Saturday's rally. The DPP claimed the rally had drawn 200,000 people to support Chen's appeal for a new constitution through a national referendum.

In addition, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), the DPP's political ally, had claimed that it would hold a mass demonstration of a million people next February in support of Chen's reelection bid.

"It is worrisome if the gap between the pan-green and pan-blue candidates continues to decrease," said KMT Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖), adding that the party should readjust its campaign mindset in order to garner the support of undecided voters in the run-up to the presidential election.

Noting that the DPP had held a large-scale demonstration to press its appeal for a referendum while all the KMT did to counter the DPP's efforts was merely "pricking balloons that had the word `referendum' written on them," Hsu criticized his party for being too naive and conservative in its campaign maneuvers.

Lien himself commented on a lack of campaign momentum in his own party.

During the KMT's weekly Central Standing Committee meeting on Wednesday, Lien voiced his dissatisfaction with the party's campaign strategy, saying that it has been too conservative.

"We can not be too quiet [in our campaigning] given that, after all, we are in a campaign period now," Lien said.

"We ought to convey our campaign appeals and ideals to the general public through an array of campaign activities and not just sit idle in the face of all [the events staged by others]," he said.

Refusing to be outdone by the DPP, some party members suggested that the pan-blue alliance should stage larger demonstrations to help mobilize grassroots supporters and boost the visibility of the alliance's presidential candidates.

"The KMT-PFP alliance should implement a stronger campaign or more aggressive campaign gimmicks in the coming months to stimulate and energize pan-blue supporters' vigor," KMT Legislator Lee Chuan-chiao (李全教) said.

Saying that the DPP had largely consolidated its grassroots supporters in southern Taiwan and increased Chen's campaign momentum through its mass demonstration last Saturday, Lee added that the pan-blue camp should stage "similar large-scale demonstrations or even demonstrations comprizing 1 million people to reverse the pan-blue camp's current situation."

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