Former President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) — well acquainted with shooting incidents — issued advice to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday, asking it not to overplay last month’s -election-eve mishap.
In the latest statement issued by his office, Chen said he believed there were a number of factors behind the opposition party’s disappointing showing at the polls and that the shooting of Sean Lien (連勝文), one of former vice president Lien Chan’s (連戰) sons, was only one of them.
“It is neither fair nor objective to simplify [the matter] and say that the bullet on Nov. 26 impacted the election results,” his statement said. “There are many other reasons why the DPP failed to live up to expectations in the special municipality elections.”
Chen, who was shot alongside then-vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) during election-eve campaigning in Tainan in 2004, cited an earlier poll taken by the DPP following the shooting and said that only 2.4 percent of voters said at the time the incident swayed their ballot. Of that number, 1.3 percent voted for his opponent, while 1.1 percent voted for the DPP.
“Who will believe that the incident last month impacted election results more than the shooting in 2004? Lu and I were vice presidential and presidential candidates at the time, while Sean Lien wasn’t even a participant in the special municipality polls,” he said. “[Nobody] should be using double -standards to compare the two -election-eve shootings.”
Chen’s statement was, according to officials at his office, written on Dec. 4, two days after he was transferred to Taipei Prison to begin serving a 17-and-a-half-year sentence after being convicted on two separate corruption charges. News and some of the former president’s writings are ferried in and out of the prison through members of his staff, the office said.
The latest release comes at a time when both the DPP and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) are bitterly disputing whether sympathy votes cast after the shooting incident on Nov. 26 altered election results, especially in a close contest for the Greater Taichung mayoralty.
The DPP has already decided to file lawsuits against several KMT politicians, accusing them of using controversial remarks that night to manipulate the incident in the KMT’s favor.
DPP lawmakers claim that based on their calculations, DPP candidates would have been in close contests in Sinbei and Taipei cities if it weren’t for the shooting. Instead, DPP candidates in the two races lost by larger-than-expected margins.