Sun, Nov 28, 2004 - Page 3 News List

DPP's plan frustrates some candidates

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou, KMT legislative candidate Chu Chun-hsiao and Taoyuan County Commissioner Chu Li-lun, left to right, yesterday taste bitter pig galls to show their determination to win the Dec. 11 elections. ''To sleep on brushwood and taste gall'' is a famous Chinese saying, which means ''to undergo self-imposed hardships to nurse vengeance.''

PHOTO: YIN CHEN-WEI, TAIPEI TIMES

With tensions running high in the legislative campaign and many Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidates finding their chances of election in jeopardy, the vote allocation strategy is coming to be regarded as a panacea. However, one candidate's medicine can be another's poison, especially for the candidates who are leading in the polls.

Some DPP candidates' unwillingness to share votes is increasingly obvious as the legislative elections enter the homestretch. DPP Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) -- who currently is ahead in polls in the north constituency of Taipei City, who appeared sullen while attending a united campaign activity with four other candidates on Thursday -- was an example of such reluctance.

"It is unfair to me that everyone asks me to share votes with them just because I'm in the lead," Hsiao said. "I'm so worried that people may think my election is a certainty and give their votes to other candidates, which might cause me to lose instead."

Hsiao also said that she hopes candidates who need more votes won't spread gossip about her and instead work harder on electioneering. She denied that her complaints were directed at fellow DPP candidate Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬), who is lagging in the polls.

infighting

Such infighting among DPP candidates derives from the reality that the DPP will not gain as many votes as they need, yet it nominated a plethora of candidates in some constituencies.

Asked about the details of the vote allocation strategy, DPP higher-ups have responded that the aim is to "make a bigger cake so that everyone can have a whack," meaning that the pan-green camp has to extend its political turf as widely as possible. However, when the cake is not big enough for all the candidates who are eager for a bite, disputes are unavoidable.

DPP caucus whip Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) urged DPP candidates to realize that the importance of this election is to maximize the number of legislative seats to make the pan-green camp win a majority. This is not the time to talk about personal victory.

"All candidates should accept the final election outcome since they've agreed to a united campaign strategy," Tsai said.

Huang Ching-lin (黃慶林), director of the DPP's Taipei City chapter, also said that campaign gossip might ruin the outcome of vote allocation. The DPP has banned its candidates from publishing campaign ads that ask voters for emergency help once the vote allocation is launched.

"Otherwise, we will take disciplinary action against these candidates," Huang said.

Nevertheless, Tsai said that he was still confident that the DPP's vote allocation would be more effective than the pan-blue camp's since the DPP's supporters are familiar with this sort of campaign.

In the legislative elections three years ago, the DPP won about 39 percent of the seats in the legislature, accounting for 33.4 percent of total ballots, demonstrating the effectiveness of vote allocation.

"Successful vote allocation depends on how clear the message sent to voters is prior to election day, and the political party that wants to engage in this strategy had better have experience in it," DPP survey center chief Pan I-hsuan (潘儀瑄) said. "I don't think the pan-blue camp is prepared in these two aspects and won't achieve the result they claim."

Currently, the DPP has finished vote allocation operations in 13 constituencies, including Taipei City, Kaohsiung City, Kaohsiung County, Tainan City, Tainan County, Taichung City, the three constituencies in Taipei County, Pingtung County.

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