Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators said the party’s presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has the ability to help sweep the DPP legislative candidates to power in next year’s legislative elections, with DPP legislative candidates nationwide vying for Tsai’s endorsement.
This “coattail” effect is expected to grow after Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) emerged as the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential hopeful, as Hung espouses a more radical position than that of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), DPP legislators said.
DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said that Tsai led the party to a landslide victory in last year’s nine-in-one elections by redoubling her campaign efforts compared with the 2012 presidential and legislative elections.
All the DPP legislative candidates nationwide are striving to get Tsai to stump for them amid her tight campaign schedule, Kuan said, adding that Tsai is scheduled to stump for four legislative candidates in Kaohsiung next week when she attends a ceremony marking the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan.
DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) said Tsai could garner more support for her party candidates because there is a strong counteraction against the KMT administration — which he said has been acting in its own interests instead of those of the public — and because Tsai has been networking at the grassroots level, and is experienced in campaigning for local candidates.
Hung’s policies — including the so-called “1992 consensus,” a proposed peace agreement with China and adjustments to the high-school curriculum guidelines — go against the popular will of Taiwanese and make the KMT’s candidates look like a bunch of headless chickens, Lee said.
Lee compared Hung to a misbehaving mother hen, saying she would stamp on her chickens with her unpredictable policy moves.
DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said that Tsai Ing-wen, who made a big splash with a small donation campaign using piggy banks in the 2012 presidential election, has crafted a maternal image like the mother of Nobita Nobi in the Japanese cartoon Doraemon.
“Tsai Ing-wen’s policy on bolstering the local economy has been well received in Nantou County,” Tsai Huang-liang said.
Saying that non-KMT candidates are expected to secure a majority in the legislature next year, DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said Tsai Ing-wen is expected to attract more support for the DPP and overwhelm the KMT’s local political networks, because Hung is taking a more conservative position than that of Ma and has received the support of the conservative wing of the KMT.
A series of campaign slogans last year that said voting for certain candidates was the same as voting for Ma would evolve into “voting for Hung is voting for Ma, and supporting certain candidates is the same as supporting Hung,” Chen said.
That explains why the KMT has considered attempting to hold next year’s presidential and legislative elections separately, Chen said.
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