Taipei Times: Election day is only a week away now. How do you assess the DPP's campaign prospects at this point?
Chang: I think we are quite optimistic about our campaign, but we are also being meticulously careful about the present situation. Since Taiwan's electoral system is a "multi-member district system," it is sometimes not easy for us to have overall control in the whole campaign. Therefore we need strategy and tactics to help us win. I've already sent a letter to local party branches to remind our 500,000 members that they have to understand the sense of crisis and cannot slack off in this last phase [of campaigning]. Otherwise there might be a low voter turnout, which would benefit the opposition parties, since many of their radicals would vote on polling day anyway.
In 2001, the DPP obtained about 39 percent of the seats in the legislature, accounting for 33.4 percent of total ballots. It proved that our vote allocation strategy was more effective and was handled better than the pan-blues' strategy. Our current campaign strategy doesn't aim to create political stars, but to enable every vote of our supporters to become "valid." That means candidates they vote for could all be elected. Consequently, the vote allocation strategy is relatively important at this point.
Looking back at the presidential election in 2004, we didn't see any vision or platforms offered by the pan-blue camp. But even after the pan-blue camp lost the presidential election, it refused to accept defeat and continued to paralyze the government with irrational boycotts in the legislature. The rotation of political parties in 2000 didn't change the fact that the pan-blues controlled the legislature. Ironically, the pan-blue camp still made the appeal that they should win a majority in the legislative elections so they could play the role of surveillance power. But the problem is that the pan-blues are already the legislative majority, yet we still have to put up with the chaotic political situation. I think now that people have supported President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and let him win his presidential re-election, they should also give him a stable legislature to help him implement his platforms.
TT: In the past, vote-buying was a key variable in the election outcome. What kind of impact do you think vote-buying will have on the pan-green camp and the pan-blue camp in this legislative election?
Chang: The DPP won people's trust with its commitment to reform, and we will never fall short of voters' expectations, especially in terms of a clean campaign. Just as in Chen's order, all DPP officials should uphold themselves to the highest standards and not engage in corrupt activities during the elections.
When I served as premier in 2001, I carried out reform by cracking down on vote-buying. I asked local police who did not punish vote-buying during the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) rule to start doing so, and it has achieved remarkable results. The Financial Times praised it for being the cleanest election in Taiwan.
I don't think DPP candidates would dare to buy votes. Although currently some DPP candidates were suspected of getting involved in banquets for voters or providing them with clothes, which was easily understood as a form bribery. I still believe our candidates wouldn't dare do such a thing [vote-buying], as the DPP has reiterated its policy of eradicating vote-buying to party members. Reform is the life of the DPP, after all. If DPP members did buy votes, we would discipline them with the severest punishment.