Next month's local government elections are a prime opportunity for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to strengthen its relations with the grassroots and for the electorate to express its anger against an incompetent government, party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday one month before the ballot.
“The DPP must return to local government and prove to the people the quality of pan-green leadership. We must let people know the DPP is a competent and compassionate party. We not only help the marginalized, we are also effective at stimulating the domestic economy and the job market,” Tsai said.
Tsai made the comments at a press conference alongside former premiers Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃), who called for party unity in the battle against the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
Yu asked party members to engage in an “aggressive fight” against “the evil practice of vote-buying” — a tactic the KMT often uses as a last-ditch effort to woo votes, he said.
Hsieh said that since President Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) main objective is a second term, he would have no choice but to abide by public opinion, citing the KMT's recent concession to a proposed amendment on food sanitation, particularly on the controversial issue of US beef imports.
“Ma will heed the public will only if it affects his popularity. This is why each vote is important. Through our ballots, we can send a clear message to the Ma administration that we are fed up with its policies,” he said.
Hsieh said several large-scale street protests had been held since Ma came to office. Each protest was expensive and time-consuming, he said, suggesting that if the KMT loses by a landslide, perhaps it would not be necessary to have so many demonstrations in the future.
Dubbing the elections as Ma's “mid-term” examination, Su urged voters to give the KMT a failing grade by voting green.
Yu said the DPP must set its eyes on a higher goal and aim for a minimum of eight of the 15 seats available. Hsieh, however, said he would be content if the party could bag seven.
Tsai declined to set a target except to say the party would go full force in each battle.