Mon, Nov 01, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Allocation key to success in legislative poll: DPP

DISTRIBUTION Making sure that like-minded candidates in the same district get elected requires making sure votes get spread around as needed, DPP strategists say

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

As the lumbering legislative campaign may drive voters away from the voting, the pan-green camp is poised to launch its long-used and effective campaign strategy -- vote allocation -- to make sure the pan-green camp secures a majority in the legislature in the December legislative elections.

"The vote allocation is must for the 'multi-member district, single vote' electoral system," Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Deputy Secretary-General Chung Chia-pin (鍾佳濱) said yesterday.

"But the timing of adopting this strategy is important. It's like baking a cake, too early or too late [in announcing candidates] will ruin the outcome," Chung said.

"Voter reactions to campaign circumstances must be considered," he added.

Chung said the DPP first adopted the campaign strategy of vote allocation in the 1995 legislative elections in the south electoral district of Taipei City, a campaign tactic known as "Four Seasons Red," in which all four DPP candidates in a constituency were elected. Since then, this strategy was regarded as a magic tool for raising the rate candidates are elected, Chung said.

According to Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), a researcher at the Institute of Social Sciences at Academia Sinica, also a poll expert, the vote allocation tactic is the most effective method to maximize the number of candidates who are elected for a party in the current multi-member district, single vote electoral system -- with a relatively even distribution of votes for each candidate.

Usually, the political party would tell their partisans to vote for a specific candidate in their districts according to the last digit number of their ID number or according to their birth month, so that the party's candidates can obtain a certain number of votes, Hsu said, adding that this strategy is unique to Taiwan.

Hsu pointed out that a successful vote allocation requires two key components: one is that the voters have to bear a strong adherence to a political party; and the other is that candidates in the same party in the same electoral district do not receive too much publicity.

Because votes are not transferable in the current electoral system it would be wasteful for a candidate to win with 60,000 votes if this candidate only needs 40,000 votes to be elected.

"Taking the DPP political heavyweight Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄) as an example, Shen enjoys high popularity in Taipei's south electoral district and is expected to be elected. But Shen nonetheless participates in vote allocation to help his fellow party member get elected," Hsu said.

However, the vote allocation inevitably requires candidates to avoid emphasizing themselves over other candidates in their party, and asks voters to ignore their personal preferences for any particular candidate in favor of party preference -- which might thwart the development of a sound electoral system, Hsu said.

In view of the low support rate of its new nominees, two days ago, the Taiwan Solidarity Union's (TSU) Secretary-General Lin Chih-chia (林志嘉) proposed the DPP work with the TSU to launch the vote allocation tactic in five constituencies, including Keelung City, Hsinchu City, Taichung City, Tainan City and Kaohsiung City.

Tsai has confirmed Lin's suggestion and said that he was happy to see this strategy adopted, but it should depend on the circumstance of every constituency and be predicated on an individual candidate's consent.

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