Mon, Sep 19, 2005 - Page 3 News List

DPP hammers out campaign theme at party conference

BY JEWEL HUANG  /  STAFF REPORTER

Giving up ideological wars and provocative contentions on various issues, the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) top campaign strategists hammered out their campaign theme for the year-end elections, "visible progress and construction with hard work," trying to persuade voters with the DPP's administrative ability and local governments' achievements.

In an internal conference on campaign strategies held last Monday, the DPP's top strategists have found the party has pulled ahead of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in six counties and cities in southern Taiwan regarding the year-end election of city mayors and county commissioners. These cities and counties included Tainan City, Tainan County, Chiayi County, Nantou County, Kaohsiung County and Pingtung County.

However, with only two more months to go, the DPP is still struggling in other constituencies, especially in the northern and middle parts of the country, where the DPP does not lead many local governments. The DPP candidates in these two areas are tasked to challenge the incumbent KMT local chiefs, but so far have been unable to garner much support. The DPP candidates in Keelung City, Taoyuan County, Hsinchu City, Hsinchu County, Taichung City and Taichung County have gained no conspicuous support in the past two months, which has vexed the DPP's campaign team.

In this regard, DPP Secretary-General Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋) said that it was not because DPP nominees are not good enough to win voters' support or that the KMT's incumbents performed so well that voters kept on supporting them. The problem, he said, lies with the people.

"A campaign culture reigns supreme in Taiwan's local elections," Lee said at an unofficial discussion with reporters after the DPP's campaign strategy meeting. "Voters would habitually support those candidates they are familiar with, and have good relations with, even though they have not done anything impressive or constructive for their local support base."

DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) agreed with Lee, saying that he was convinced that the DPP's candidates were more outstanding than those of the KMT and that the DPP candidates who seek re-election have already accumulated visible achievements and are familiar with campaign skills.

"As far as I know, KMT candidates did not pay much attention to local constructions but spent a lot of time attending weddings or funerals to build up their local connections," Su said. "They didn't do good things, but they also didn't do bad things. Their strategy proved effective."

"But we still believe that this election is an election of talents," Su said.

"As long as we can drive home the idea that people need good talents to improve their lives, not mediocre ones, I think the party that introduces truly excellent candidates will win voters' hearts and stand out in this election," Su said.

Meanwhile, to grab at least half the seats in 21 cities and counties in the year-end elections is the goal that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) set for the DPP on the party's 19-year-old birthday last Friday. To achieve Chen's goal, it is imperative for the DPP to snatch seats in the cities and counties where it has never won before.

Therefore, the DPP strategists have established the campaign theme of "visible progress and construction with hard work," expecting to highlight the DPP's administrative ability and local governments' achievements.

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