Second, despite a lack of resources, many young cadres are not afraid to take on difficult tasks and many young candidates have been willing to take on difficult constituencies and taken up impossible challenges. They have delivered excellent results and even more importantly, they have been the engine that has helped city and county councilors and township chiefs to also deliver excellent results. The DPP must cultivate these cadres for the long term and help them grow local connections so that they can win over new voters.
Third, the party’s unity was on full display in these elections. We have proved that the DPP is united in adversity.
LT: What do you think the election results mean to the government?
Tsai: The KMT’s number of votes declined in these elections. Many blue voters voted for the DPP or elected not to vote at all in order to teach the KMT a lesson. The public is capable of differentiating between the achievements of different rulers. They’re not blind, and every political party must be aware of this.
The most significant lesson from these elections was that the public cast a vote of no confidence in the government’s performance over the past year. Behind this lies public complaints over failed economic policies, the damage to national dignity and the insensitivity of top officials.
The public is beginning to lose patience. The government’s digging their heels in on the ECFA and US beef issues, and their ineffectual responses to natural disasters and economic decline, speak of complacency. They are in government and have a majority in the legislature, and this has blinded them to their own errors. The KMT needs to scrutinize these results, and look at the message the public is sending them: They cannot just rely on money, factions and vote buying when it comes to elections.
LT: Next year we have five special municipalities elections. How do you plan to tackle them?
Tsai: Well, we’ve made some minor gains during these elections, but our goal is to get back into central government. There is quite a way to go before this is achieved, and a lot of work to be done. The special municipality elections are just one step, albeit an important one. If we can win them, we may harbor some hope of victory in the next step, the legislative and presidential elections.
However, if we are going to get that far, the last thing we want is party infighting. There is nothing wrong with competition per se, but we are going to have to unite under the party banner. Party members are going to have to put the fortunes of the party first, it’s not about having a platform for individual egos. It’s just like baseball. Winning is everything, and the only goal is to get glory for the team. Our supporters are not going to be impressed if we can’t work together.
So, we’re going to find some time after the election and have everyone sit down together. We will need to discuss how we are going to allocate work for the 2012 presidential elections. We have to find a way we can move forward together and eradicate problems ahead. I am hoping we can do this without too many opposing voices within the party. We have several options for candidates for next year’s special municipality elections within the green-held areas that can potentially win, so we are looking for a fair, coordinated process unhindered by disputes.