The pan-blue camp won yesterday's legislative election by a wide margin as its main rival, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), failed to come up with effective strategies that could have helped it overcome the disadvantages it faced under the new electoral system, political analysts said yesterday.
Except for certain districts in the south, the structure of most electoral districts favors the pan-blue camp by a 55 to 44 ratio, said Chen Chao-jian (陳朝建), an assistant professor of public affairs at Ming Chuan University.
The change, from the previous multiple-seat constituency to a single-member constituency, made it much easier for pan-blue candidates to secure seats, a phenomenon born out in the 2005 elections for heads of local governments, where a similar "winner takes all" voting model was used, he said.
In the 2005 elections, the pan-blue camp garnered 55 percent of the votes and took control of 18 local counties and cities. The green camp won just seven counties and cities, despite the fact that it only obtained about 10 percent less votes than the pan-blue camp.
In yesterday's election, the pan-blue camp -- composed of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the People First Party (PFP) and the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union (NPSU) -- won more than a XXX majority, but it beat the DPP by only XXX percent in terms of votes.
"Before the election even started, the pan-blue camp already had at least 10 seats in its pocket -- the districts in eastern Taiwan, the outlying islands and Aboriginal districts -- said Tseng Chien-yuan (
In other districts, which are also traditionally considered pan-blue strongholds, the low turnout rate was another cause for concern, as pan-blue legislative candidates remained dominant over their pan-green counterparts, Tseng said.
"The pan-blue candidates might have lost some of those seats if we had seen a 20 percent increase in turnout," he said.
Tseng said the DPP has lost its former ability to appeal to young voters, whose frustrating experiences under the DPP government over the past eight years has had a marked influence on their voting behavior.
"The DPP government has performed poorly and they do not like the KMT, so young voters might just as well stay home and prepare for their final exams, which start tomorrow," Tseng said.
Also absent from the elections were swing voters, who account for about 20 percent of eligible voters, said Yang Tai-shun (
Yang Tai-shun said that most voters waiving their right to vote this year were probably pan-green supporters, a departure from previous elections, when they were mostly from the pan-blue camp.
"Pan-blue supporters are so afraid of losing to the DPP again that a crisis of conscience prompted them to cast their ballots. For pan-green supporters, especially the so called light-greens, their disappointment with the DPP apparently made them decide not to vote," he said.
Given that the electoral structure already favored the pan-blue camp, the DPP yielded seats, as its candidates had no means to persuade swing voters, Yang Tai-shun said.
"The KMT's Justin Chou (
Overshadowed by allegations of corruption against a number of DPP officials and low satisfaction with his government, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) made relentless efforts during the campaign to shift the focus onto the referendum on recovering KMT stolen assets as well as national identity.
"It turns out that the effectiveness of the DPP strategy was very limited, as those issues were not fresh enough to generate interest with voters, especially when a large percentage of them have had enough of political rhetoric and confrontation," Chen Chao-jian said.
The offensive TV commercials launched by the pan-blue camp targeting the weak points in the DPP government, by comparison, effectively damaged the DPP's image and thus consolidated the pan-blue force and discouraged swing voters from voting, Chen Chao-jian said.
Yang Tai-shun said the effect of the KMT's commercials was multiplied by Chen Shui-bian, who reminded voters of a spate of negative stories surrounding the DPP whenever he made headlines with some of his extemporary remarks.
Looking at the election results from the perspective of encouraging supporters to vote, Yang Chun-chih (
The pan-blue camp's traditional mobilization strength wouldn't have proved effective if the KMT, the PFP and the NPSU had not agreed to a common ticket for each district prior to the elections, he said.
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