Tue, Nov 16, 2004 - Page 3 News List

DPP and TSU set to exploit vote-allocation scheme

COOPERATION Although the parties agreed to run joint campaigns in September, Tainan and Kaohsiung are the only places in which the parties will divvy up votes


The Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) vote allocation strategy will be exploited to its utmost in Tainan City, where the three DPP candidates together with the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) candidate have decided to share the pan-green vote.

Although a decision was made in late September for the DPP and TSU to wage a joint electoral campaign, this is the first time the DPP has also extended its vote allocation strategy to include a candidate from another party.

The vote allocation strategy is one of the key's to the DPP's legislative election campaign. It's a strategy born of Taiwan's "multi-member district, single vote" electoral system.

Under the strategy, the party determines in advance which voters will vote for which candidates, so that votes can be divided up equally. It gives instructions to its supporters, typically a week or two before the election, telling them to vote for a candidate according to a specified criteria -- for example, the supporter's birth month.

The strategy is meant to ensure that the party and its allies gain the maximum number of seats, and to avoid a scenario whereby the party's most popular candidate or candidates get far more votes than they need, while less-known candidates get too few to get elected.

In Tainan City, 12 candidates are running for the six seats. The three DPP candidates, Wang Sing-nan (王幸男), Tang Bi-a (唐碧娥), and Lai Ching-te (賴清德), and the TSU candidate Chien Lin Hui-chien (錢林慧君), are all incumbent lawmakers, and it is very likely that all will continue to hold their seats after the election.

The four have already created a slogan, "all-season reds." That refers to having one candidate for each of the four seasons, with the lucky color red indicating they'll all win reelection. Though the allocation system has not been finalized in Tainan, it may see pan-green supporters casting ballots for a candidate based on which of the four seasons they were born in.

Lai said that the joint campaign was helping knit the pan-green camp more tightly together.

"The joint campaign has started to show its effect, and it has united the voters more," Lai said. "The voters have shown more confidence, and they have approved of this inter-party joint campaign."

Last week, after TSU chairman Huang Chu-wen (黃主文) and Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) met, Kaohsiung City became the second constituency in which the DPP and TSU will cooperate on vote allocation -- although the details still need to be further discussed.

But the DPP and the TSU do not necessarily get along in all constituencies.

In the Taipei City Second Constituency (Taipei City south), where DPP lawmaker Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄) seems to be losing the hearts of green hardliners, Shen has been urging those who are dissatisfied with him to give their votes to another DPP lawmaker instead -- but not to TSU candidate David Huang (黃適卓) -- so that the DPP can hold on to the maximum number of seats.

Also, the inclusion of the TSU's Chien Lin in the vote allocation system in Tainan City does not mean that the DPP is the one helping the TSU. Polls show that Chien Lin could likely hold her seat on her own, and even have votes to spare to give to the weaker DPP candidates.

One reason for that is that Chien Lin has performed better in the legislature than Wang and Tang, giving frequent press conferences to raise awareness of issues, mostly related to China or medicine.

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