Contrary to its expectations and predictions, the pan-green camp failed to build on a legislative majority after the dramatic conclusion of the legislative elections yesterday. President Chen Shui-bian (
"The elections have come to an end and the most important thing right now is not to embrace a specific party's victory, but to embrace a united Taiwan," Chen said.
"Although the DPP gained slightly in seats and in the percentage of votes, we are still a long way from our goal."
"We feel very sorry that many incumbent legislators lost their elections, and the DPP will need to examine itself thoroughly. I would like to apologize to our supporters and to those who lost, and I'm willing to take complete responsibility," Chen said.
After holding an emergency meeting conferring with other DPP high-ranking officials, Chen made the remarks last night at about 10pm.
The DPP picked up a total 89 seats, which includes 70 district legislators, 16 legislators-at-large and 3 overseas legislators -- far behind its goal of 101 seats and only two more seats than at the last elections. It obtained 35.72 percent of the votes, up from 33.39 percent in the last elections.
"I would also like to thank the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Chairman Huang Chu-wen (黃主文) and its candidates for their help, including former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝)," Chen said. "Although the TSU and the DPP are competitors, we have also cooperated with each other. Hopefully in the future, we will consolidate more and become a stable power together in the legislature."
Chen also called on the opposition parties to hold to the principles of "benign competition" and "rational supervision," allowing the legislature and the administration to have better interaction and make room for improvement.
But Chen did not announce he would step down from his office as the DPP chairman in the news conference, as a TV news report observed.
However, DPP Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (
Chang said that he will also step down from his legislator-at-large seat, which was a promise he had made before the election. The DPP's high ranking officials will temporarily stay in their posts until the DPP restructures itself.
"The main reason the DPP didn't perform well is that we made mistakes in the vote allocation strategy, and the KMT's limited nomination was put into effect," Chang said. "But the DPP will continue its reforms and will not give up."
Meanwhile, TSU chairman Huang Chu-wen (
The TSU encountered a setback in this campaign. It secured 12 legislative slots -- one seat less than in the 2001 election.
"Compared with three years ago, the TSU didn't make any progress at all. We even lost a seat," Huang said with a somber expression. "However, such an election result was decided by all the people and we should respect the voters' decision."