Sun, Jan 06, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Legislative elections: DPP eyes independent voters, seeks 50 seats

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

President Chen Shui-bian, left, and DPP legislative candidate Wang Shih-cheng drive under a bridge on Yanping N Road in Taipei yesterday.

PHOTO: LO PEI-DER, TAIPEI TIMES

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has set a goal of winning 45 to 50 seats in the new 113-member legislature, as it tries to woo independent voters in the final week of the campaign before the legislative elections on Saturday.

The new single-member district and two-vote system (單一選區兩票制) has placed the DPP at a disadvantage -- especially in aboriginal constituencies such as Hualien and Taitung counties and outlying islands -- where pan-blue supporters form the majority of the electorate, analysts said.

DPP officials said the party would emphasize non-political issues in the final week of the campaign to appeal to an estimated 30 percent of voters who remain undecided, highlighting the DPP's image as an advocate for the disadvantaged, native culture, systematic reform and progress and democracy.

In Taipei City, where a total of eight seats are up for grabs in eight voting districts, incumbent Wang Shih-cheng (王世堅), running in the historically pro-DPP 2nd district, and Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康), running in the 5th district, are given the best chances to win seats, officials have said.

In Taipei County, where 12 seats are being contested, incumbents Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) in the 2nd district, Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡) in the 4th district and Liao Pen-yen (廖本煙) in the 5th district are leading their rivals, while entertainer Yu Tien (余天) in the 3rd district is locked in a tight race.

DPP candidates are neck and neck with their opponents in the other districts, DPP officials said.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is expected to dominate in northern Taiwan, while the DPP should win most of its seats in the south.

In Chiayi City, pan-green forces are also split, with DPP incumbent Sandy Yen (莊和子) forced to fight off a challenge by the Taiwan Solidarity Union's Ling Tzu-chu (凌子楚) and pan-blue opponents.

In Chiayi County, normally a DPP stronghold, incumbent Chang Hua-kuan (張花冠) in the 2nd district has a slight lead over her rivals, but incumbent Tsai Chi-fang (蔡啟芳) will need to come from behind in the 1st district to retain his seat.

The DPP is optimistic it will sweep the three seats up for grabs in Tainan County, where its candidates have held steady leads over their rivals and said incumbent William Lai (賴清德) had a good chance of retaining his seat in Tainan City's 2nd district.

In southernmost Pingtung County, the DPP said it stood a good chance of seizing two of the three seats available.

The elections will mark the first time the single-member district, two-vote system is used. Past legislatures were composed of multiple representatives from individual districts, with lawmakers able to win seats with as little as 5 percent of votes.

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