Mon, Dec 01, 2014 - Page 3 News List

2014 ELECTIONS: Lien Chan behind smear tactics: campaign official

By Chen Yen-ting, Lu Heng-chien and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

The campaign office of beaten Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei mayoral candidate Sean Lien (連勝文) began packing up yesterday, but neither Lien nor his campaign manager, KMT Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元), have been seen since Lien’s concession speech on Saturday.

Independent Taipei mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) won the race with 57.16 percent of the votes, topping Lien, who garnered 40.82 percent of ballots.

While most pundits thought Tsai originated several negative campaign tactics that are thought to have been a top factor in Lien’s loss, a Lien campaign official yesterday said that the strategy originated with Lien’s father, former vice president and former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰).

The official, who wished to remain anonymous, said that surveys conducted for internal use only suggested that Sean Lien would lose to Ko by just 10 percent.

“We expected we would lose the election; we just did not expect to lose by this wide a margin,” the official said.

As for the negative strategy, the official said that Tsai was asked to manage the campaign because of his hawkish reputation. However, Tsai did not have the weight to affect overall campaign strategy, the official added.

For example, KMT Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) — after finding a particular smear had little effect — tried to stifle allegations that Ko laundered money through a National Taiwan University Hospital account, the official said, adding that Lien Chan had pulled her aside for a talk, after which the allegations continued.

The official said the campaign office later realized the harm that the negative campaigning caused and asked the former head of its promotional division, You Tzu-hsiang (游梓翔) — who was against the tactics — to return in hopes of limiting the fallout.

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