Vote-allocation has risks, but greens confident

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Mon, Nov 22, 2004 - Page 2

Although Kaohsiung City is perhaps the most steadfast turf of the pan-green camp, Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) -- also the leading campaign strategist for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) -- said that only by adopting a precise vote-allocation strategy and unifying campaign tactics with the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) could the pan-green camp maintain its dominance in Kaohsiung.

"I think the pan-green candidates have been more united and have a kept a broader mind than the pan-blue candidates once they were asked to share their votes with fellow candidates," Hsieh said. "For candidates, accepting the vote-allocation strategy is just like staking all of their money on a risky business -- they will either win or lose it all."

As the legislative election campaign enters the homestretch and passions are raised to an extreme pitch by both political camps, Hsieh said that the vote allocation strategy was a sensitive topic, and all the candidates are tense about the possibility of losing their elections -- even though those who have stable poll figures.

However, in order to achieve the goal of winning a majority in the legislature, Hsieh said that he had persuaded former Kaohsiung City Government spokeswoman Kuan Pi-ling (管碧玲), who is campaigning in the northern constituency of Kaohsing City and has taken the lead in numerous polls, to divide her votes with other candidates.

"It is commendable that Kuan agreed to share her votes with other pan-green candidates, as she is in the leading group," Hsieh said. "But the DPP has to win with teamwork. Only through cooperation can we control the legislature and pass bills that are beneficial to all the people."

But Kuan said that she was worried the vote allocation would make all of the candidates lose the election if any mistakes happened.

"However, now that I've promised to do it, I will just go all out and promote it with my supporters. But just remember not to make me come in last in the election list!" Kuan said with smile.

In the northern constituency of Kaohsiung City, Kuan, Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤) and Lin Chin-hsing (林進興) are conducting a united campaign with TSU candidate Tsenng Tsan-teng (曾燦燈). In the southern constituency, the DPP's nominees, Tang Chin-chuan (湯金全), Huang Chao-hui (黃昭輝) and Kuo Wen-chen (郭玟成), will run a campaign with the TSU's Lo Chih-ming (羅志明), who is leading in the polls and was willing to offer his ballots to others.

All eight candidates have campaigned together in support of the vote-allocation and united campaign strategies.

Lo said that Hsieh has successfully extended the domain of the pan-green camp because of his impressive municipal achievements in Kaohsiung City.

"The recent poll found that Mayor Hsieh won 81.3 percent of citizens' support, yet Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) support has fallen to 73 percent, " Lo said. "We hope that citizens' satisfaction with Hsieh will translate into votes and enlarge the domain of the pan-green camp, so that every candidate can use this base of support."

Chao Wen-nan (趙文男), director of the DPP chapter in Kaohsiung City, said that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) obtained 280,000 votes in northern Kaohisung and 220,000 votes in southern Kaohsiung during the presidential election. Chao said that if this support for Chen was an indication of how the pan-greens would fare in the legislative elections, added with Hsieh's accomplishments, then all eight nominees from the DPP and the TSU could possibly be elected.

However, Chao also admitted the election situation in Kaohisung is not entirely optimistic, since the KMT has only nominated one candidate in southern Kaohsiung and only three candidates in northern Kaohsiung, which will could spread the pan-green camp's votes relatively thin.

But Hsieh was still confident of the pan-green's election prospects, and thought that the DPP's final campaign theme "peace and happiness" had successfully differentiated the party from the pan-blue camp.

"The pan-blue camp is eating its own bitter fruit, since it has refused to concede its failure in the presidential election and its poll results are sharply declining," Hsieh said. "Lien and Soong, who have been cursing Taiwan with groundless and irrational remarks, have brought themselves bad luck because of their hatred. People don't need hatred. People need hope and happiness, which is a commitment that the DPP is willing to make to all the people of Taiwan."