Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers shared their opinions on the effect of “hens boosting chickens” in the run-up to next year’s presidential and legislative elections.
When applied to politics, the term means that a candidate in a higher-ranking election (the hen) is so popular that lower-level election candidates’ (the chickens) chances of winning are boosted by riding their coattails.
For the DPP, a number of its lawmakers said they believe that the foreign affairs and administrative reforms by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) — who is running for re-election representing the DPP — are likely to give her an edge at the polls, but warn that she must remain vigilant with regards to combating “fake news” and maintaining unity in the pan-green camp.
Voters are likely to see that Tsai can better protect the Taiwanese identity and national security than pro-China candidates would, DPP Legislator Ho Chih-wei (何志偉) said.
People have shown a lot of support for Tsai, he said, citing the applause he receives whenever he mentions the president at public events.
However, the DPP must communicate with the public to ensure that they can remain up to date on the administration’s hard work and achievements, he said.
Although the DPP’s grassroots supporters do not have as many grievances as they did after the party’s defeat in last year’s nine-in-one elections, the DPP still had to work hard to win back many of the people who voted for Tsai in the 2016 presidential election, DPP Legislator Huang Kuo-shu (黃國書) said.
Huang said that the party should hold events such as those held by former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), calling on the public to “join hands to protect Taiwan.”
Hong Kongers’ protests against a proposed extradition law should feature in Tsai’s election campaign, and the party must also communicate with the public about what it sees as the administration’s successful policies and what it sees as its failures, he said.
The party should ask people to share their ideas on how to improve bills such as the unpopular “one fixed day off and one flexible rest day” labor policy, Huang said.
Tsai has received praise for ensuring that the Taiwan-US relationship is the strongest it has ever been, and for securing more US weapons and military systems, DPP Legislator Lai Jui-lung (賴瑞隆) said.
Like Huang, Lai also discussed the significance of the Hong Kong protests for Tsai’s campaign, saying that the issue of sovereignty has become more important to Taiwanese because of Beijing’s interference in Hong Kong’s democracy and freedoms.
Beijing has made moves to infiltrate media around the world, and Taiwan has felt the brunt of its actions in this area, he said, adding that “fake news” and disinformation cost China little to produce, but the costs to the societies affected is great.
Tackling disinformation is a challenge for Taiwan, and it is imperative that the government resolve the issue of false information in the media as quickly as possible, he said.
Next year’s election is about protecting democracy, and the economy should be improved within the context of the nation’s democratic systems so that people can live good lives, he added.
As for the KMT’s presidential candidate, Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), his chances of victory half depend on his performance as mayor, KMT Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖) said.
Therefore, Han’s decision to remain in the city every week from Monday to Friday was the right choice, he said.
KMT Legislator Shen Chih-huei (沈智慧) echoed Chen’s sentiments on the importance of Han’s performance as mayor.
If the Kaohsiung City Government performs well under Han, it would show that he can handle a bigger role, she said.
The KMT’s grassroots supporters are already throwing their weight behind his campaign, she said, adding that the party’s mayors and commissioners would also support him.
KMT Legislator Sufin Siluko said that even if Han remained in Kaohsiung throughout the week, his actions and words would all be aimed at strengthening his campaign.
There would be no distinction between work days and weekends, he added.
However, while Han’s performance as mayor would affect his presidential campaign, it would not have any bearing on the legislative elections that are to be held at the same time, he said.
While Han’s performance as mayor was important to his campaign, it would not negatively affect his campaign if he took time off from his duties as mayor to prepare for the elections, KMT Legislator Lee Yen-hsiu (李彥秀) said.
The city government is made up of a team of people and would continue to operate if he was absent, she said.
The KMT’s Central Standing Committee would help Han balance his schedule between the needs of Kaohsiung and his election campaign, she added.
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