Mon, May 16, 2005 - Page 3 News List

DPP lauds strategy in election win

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY A party official said that a decision to release poll data showing a slide in the party's support rating helped motivate voters

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) emerged triumphant in the National Assembly elections because the party struck the right note with supporters, motivating them with a sense of crisis as well as a show of unity in the final week, according to a DPP official's analysis.

"In fact, the DPP [campaign] hinged on two areas in this election from the very beginning. One was our support for passing the constitutional amendments and the other was that we opposed the pan-blue leaders' ingratiating themselves with China," said DPP Spokesman Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦), one of the key campaigners for the National Assembly elections held on Saturday.

"However, Chinese Nationalist Party ( KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong's (宋楚瑜) visits to China overwhelmed the focus of the campaign and `China fever' cut into our support rating a lot at one point," Cheng said.

During Lien's trip to China, Cheng said, the DPP's support rating fell below the KMT's. Support even dropped to its lowest point ever when Lien returned to Taiwan on May 3 with a communique he had signed with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤).

Despite the party's slump in the polls, the DPP noticed that their traditional supporters were not defecting to the TSU, which opposed passage of the constitutional amendments the National Assembly will consider, Cheng said.

"Further analysis found that our supporters were not pleased with President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) vacillating attitude toward Lien and Soong's trips to China and that what they actually cared about most was whether the DPP would continue to insist on Taiwan's autonomy and sovereignty, Cheng said. "As soon as the president reiterated his resolution on this point in TV interviews, this dispelled the worries of DPP supporters -- especially our faithful supporters -- and won back their votes," Cheng said.

Some questioned whether it was appropriate for Chen to reveal so much inside information during the TV interviews, including details about his relationship with former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), his meeting with Soong and other national issues. But Chen was undeniably successful in shifting attention away from `China fever' and toward the National Assembly elections.

Cheng said Chen's TV interviews cooled the recent `China fever' and united DPP members on the constitutional reforms.

"Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who accepted a joint TV interview on Friday night, especially impressed our supporters with the DPP's unity, since Hsieh and Su are two potential competitors to succeed Chen in the DPP, Cheng said.

Moreover, in view of past experience showing that partisans' ballots were the key to saving the party in an election with low voter turnout, Su -- disregarding the opposition of other party officials -- decided to announce the DPP's slide in the polls 10 days before the election. The decision sparked a sense of crisis among DPP partisans and motivated them to get out and vote, despite the pouring rain on polling day.

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