Poor organization and lack of experience contributed to the failure of Greater Kaohsiung’s Appendectomy Project in two campaigns on election day, activists said yesterday.
Representatives of the group’s Greater Kaohsiung branch bowed in apology to supporters at a press conference. A representative from Greater Kaohsiung surnamed Hsieh (謝小姐) cried quietly throughout the proceedings.
Activists had hoped to take advantage of the nine-in-one elections to collect the signatures necessary to enter the recall campaign’s second phase, setting up tables outside voting sites. However, petitions to recall Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislators Lin Kuo-cheng (林國正) and Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) failed to reach the threshold of 2 percent of the electorate, with just 3,355 (1.38 percent) signatures collected for Lin and 2,321 (0.8 percent) for Huang.
In contrast, the effort to recall Taipei KMT Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元) passed the first threshold in August, breezing past the second threshold on election day with more than 40,000 signatures.
“I was surprised by the result,” said the group’s spokesperson, who is known as “Mr Lin from Taipei” (台北林先生).
He said that people from the relatively “pan-green” Greater Kaohsiung tend to be more enthusiastic about the group’s cause than Taipei residents.
Hsieh attributed the poor results to insufficient experience and organization, with a lack of staff and funding preventing the group from setting up signature-collection booths at all voting sites.
She said volunteer turnover was a key problem, with more than two-thirds of the initial summer student volunteers leaving for other cities during the fall school semester, and most fall volunteers returning to their hometowns to vote, forcing the group to quickly patch together a new team from returning students on election day.
In addition, Greater Kaohsiung volunteers failed to foresee a number of election-day expenses and did not raise any money beforehand, she said.
In contrast, volunteers in Taipei have been raising funds since May, Mr Lin from Taipei said.
Activists promised to continue working to collect signatures until the Dec. 31 deadline, when forms will be destroyed if the threshold remains unattained.
The name Appendectomy Project is a pun on a Mandarin Chinese term for pan-blue camp legislators, lan wei (藍委), which is pronounced the same as the word for “appendix” (闌尾).
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