Sat, Nov 15, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Pan-blue strategy: Call yourself moderate and pray

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

In a bid to counter the recent strategy of the the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of proposing a new constitution and national referendum, the pan-blue alliance of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP) decided to strike back by branding the DPP a radical pro-localization party (激進的本土派) in the upcoming presidential election.

By portraying their opponents as radicals, the pan-blue camp aims to show voters that the DPP is leading the nation toward a future of uncertainty and risk. On the contrary, by labeling themselves moderate pro-localizationists (溫和的本土派), members of the KMT-PFP alliance hopes that a mild image will draw support from voters, as it shows voters that the alliance will guide the nation toward a stable and prosperous future.

In this way, the pan-blues hope to convince the public that the DPP intends to embark on a program of revolutionary desinicization, while the pan-blues want to take a more even-handed approach to relations between the various ethnic groups in Taiwan.

KMT Legislator Lo Shih-hsiung (羅世雄) said the campaign strategy was decided after an intense discussion among the pan-blue members.

"Rather than indulging in the issue of unification versus independence, both the KMT and the PFP have come to the consensus that in the upcoming presidential election, we must fix our position as moderate pro-localizationists as opposed to the DPP's radical pro-localizationism," said Lo, who is also the head convener of his party's Cultural and Communications Affairs Committee for the Kaohsiung and Pingtung areas.

The KMT formed an alliance with its splinter group, the PFP, earlier this February. They decided to field a joint-party presidential ticket headed by KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰), with his PFP counterpart James Soong (宋楚瑜) running as vice president.

Lo rebutted critics' charges that the KMT-PFP alliance is an "alien regime" (外來政權).

Stressing that the majority of the pan-blue camp members were born and raised in Taiwan, Lo, stating that the KMT's history is intertwined with the nation's history, said that calling the KMT a pro-localization party was a description that matched reality.

"By positioning ourselves as moderate pro-localizationists, we can also address the nuisance of being attacked by others as being Communist China's lackeys," Lo added.

The strategy was manifested in remarks recently made by Lien.

While meeting with a visiting delegation from the US' Republican Party on Thursday at the KMT's headquarters in Taipei, Lien criticized the DPP for promoting "revolution" via its calls for a new constitution.

"The DPP chose to propose ideas such as calling for a new constitution through a national referendum, changing the nation's name, building a new nation and similar issues during its last four months in office. This is not reform, it is revolution," Lien said.

Criticizing such behavior by the DPP as being irresponsible, Lien told his visitors that the KMT, on the other hand, wished only for an amendment to the Constitution, and is therefore a party which stands for progressive, peaceful and rational reform.

Commenting on the pan-blue camp's strategy of positioning itself as moderate pro-localizationists, Chiu Hei-yuan (瞿海源), a political observer and sociology professor at National Taiwan University, said "the strategy is not persuasive enough to win voters' votes."

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