Wed, Jul 14, 2004 - Page 2 News List

TSU, DPP disagree about by-election campaigning

KAOHSIUNG POLL The ruling party will hold a big rally on Friday night, a move its ally feels is inappropriate given the suffering of people in storm-damaged areas

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

The competition between the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) over this Saturday's by-election for Kaohsiung City councilors has drawn the two parties into a spat over whether to hold big campaign rallies while the country is still recovering from the devastation wrought by Tropical Storm Mindulle.

The DPP has scheduled a huge rally for Friday night, inviting President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁),Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and other prominent party officials to stump for 10 candidates.

The TSU, however, said the DPP should take note of the recovery efforts underway in the center and south of the country and avoid holding festive campaign rallies.

TSU Secretary-general Lin Chih-chia (林志嘉) said the party has cancelled plans to stage a large-scale rally on Friday night with former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝).

Instead the party has donated the NT$1 million allocated for the rally to storm-relief efforts, Lin said.

"The celebratory atmosphere of a campaign rally might give people the bad impression that we don't care about the pain of people in flood-stricken areas. This is not the time to hold such events," he said.

However, the DPP said would go all out to push its candidates and would hold Friday's rally as planned.

Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦), director of the DPP's Information and Culture Department, said that although the DPP and TSU share the goal of forming a majority in the Kaohsiung council as a precursor to their cooperation in the year-end legislative elections, the two parties have to "work in their own way" to achieve the best results.

Cheng said the the TSU didn't want the president to attend the DPP's rally partly because it wants to differentiate itself from the DPP and partly because it wants to see Chen to stump for both parties' candidates in the future.

Cheng said the TSU already has a core group of supporters in the Kaohsiung area and therefore its voter base would not overlap too much with that of the DPP.

DPP Deputy Secretary-general Chung Chia-pin (鍾佳濱) said the electoral prospects of the pan-green camp are rising.

The DPP has nominated 10 candidates and expects to secure at least six seats, while the TSU has nominated four candidates and expects three to win.

The pan-green camp is only eight seats shy of a majority on the council.

Saturday's by-election will replace the 18 former councilors who lost their seats for accepting bribes in last December's council speaker election, which was won by Chu An-hsiung (朱安雄), who is now a fugitive.

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