Sun, Nov 21, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Shih seeks to heal political divisions

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Shih Ming-teh speaks at a press conference on Oct 25.

TAIPEI TIMES FILE PHOTO

Promoting a Cabinet-style system of government for Taiwan when the nation is leaning more toward a presidential system, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) seems to be holding on to his romanticized view of politics. It is this romance, and his distance from either political camp, which might win him a seat in the next legislature. Shih is running for a seat in the Taipei north constituency, where 23 candidates are running for 10 seats.

Saying he has little funding for the election campaign, Shih is putting his ideas on his Web site (www.nori.org.tw) -- one of the most well-designed among the hundreds of legislative candidates.

His campaign film, which presents the concept of a divided society by showing bank notes torn to two pieces, is also only viewable on his Web site -- unlike other candidates who are able to broadcast campaign films of commercial on television.

Besides his ideas on a Cabinet system, Shih says that the most important reason he decided to run in the legislative election was because he could not allow the split -- created by constant squabbling among the pan-green and pan-blue camps -- in Taiwanese society to continue.

Shih said that fighting among the political camps has created bitter divisions society, "but there is only one Taiwan."

"There has to be a neutral force standing up against the two camps. I cannot forsake Taiwan and allow the conflict to continue, so I decided to run in this election," Shih said.

"The polls have shown me to be in the fifth or the sixth place, and I am cautiously optimistic about the outcome," he said.

Shih said that he has been getting support from voters who usually support one of the political camps, saying many people feeling disappointed with the camps.

Shih's long-time acquaintance, DPP legislator-at-large Lin Choi-shui (林濁水), said Shih enjoyed a good chance of winning a seat in the legislature.

"In the past three years there have been voters who have become dissatisfied with both camps. Those who have become distant from pan-blue and pan-green parties and feel anxious about the current political situation may vote for a neutral and independent candidates this time," Lin said.

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘), who is running in the same constituency as Shih, said that Shih was actually attracting votes away from the pan-blue camp.

"Shih is not affecting the pan-green campaign much, and he has not interacted much with the pan-green candidates. He is getting the votes from those who are disappointed or angry with the pan-blue camp, especially the People First Party (PFP)," Chen said.

"As a pan-green candidate, I am happy to see Shih run in the election," he added.

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