Thu, Oct 06, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Year-end polls take shape for pan-greens

ELECTIONS The TSU and the DPP have managed to cooperate in Keelung and Chiayi, giving the two parties some momentum as campaigning gets underway


With the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) having successfully initiated cooperation in Keelung, the pan-green camp appears ready to work together to penetrate local regions and capture more turf from the pan-blue camp.

The picture is becoming clearer for the year-end elections after all candidates completed registration on Tuesday. The news that the DPP's nominee for the Keelung mayoral race, Wang Tuoh (王拓), had withdrawn from the race to support the TSU's nominee Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘) encouraged pan-green supporters. In response to the DPP's goodwill, the director of the TSU's organization department, Liu Yi-teh (劉一德), withdrew from the Chiayi mayoral race.

With cooperation between the two parties shaping up, their top campaign strategists yesterday expressed confidence about their chances.

Speaking about the DPP's overall situation for the year-end elections, DPP Secretary-General Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋) was optimistic, saying the party is confident of securing 13 cities and counties, including Taipei, Ilan, Miaoli, Nantou, Chunghua, Yunlin, Chiayi, Tainan, Kaohsiung, Pingtung and Penghu counties, as well as Chiayi and Tainan cities.

Lee said the DPP has pressed its campaign theme of local governments' accomplishments and would not intensify the campaign to the level of the pitched battle between the pan-green camp and the pan-blue camp during last year's presidential election.

"A head-on confrontation with the pan-blue camp is unfavorable to the DPP in the year-end polls since this election is a regional one, not a national one," Lee said. "Therefore, we will not actively create campaign topics but put more spotlight on each candidate's ability and the achievements of those who are seeking re-election."

But the DPP will still prepare some issues to counter Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

Meanwhile, although the pan-green camp's cooperation in Keelung and Chiayi is assured, the TSU -- under former president Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) insistence -- has not yet given up Tainan and former PFP legislator Chien Lin Hui-chien (錢林慧君), will continue to campaign against the DPP's candidate there, Hsu Tien-tsai (許添財).

In addition to Chen Chien-ming and Chien Lin Hui-chien, the TSU has nominated six candidates to run for township chiefs and 47 candidates for city and county councilors.

According to TSU Secretary-General Cheng Cheng-lung (程振隆), the TSU hopes to win at least 22 seats on city and county councils, three township posts and ensure that Keelung and Chiayi become the TSU's turf.

Shu said that his visit to Central America with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Su had been a catalyst for cooperation in the pan-green camp as he had exchanged many ideas about the year-end polls with the president and Su.

"The TSU is realistic about the upcoming elections. Therefore, we have not nominated an excessive number of candidates," Shu said. "We will concentrate on securing those seats that are almost certain, and will appeal to voters with issues concerning their livelihoods."

Shu said that although the TSU is cooperating with the DPP, it will protect its independent character and maintain a relationship with the DPP that mixes cooperation and competition.

Shu did not confirm whether Lee would campaign for all of the TSU's candidates, saying only that the party has matured under Lee's leadership and is capable of taking care of itself.

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