2012 ELECTIONS: REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK: DPP aides worried despite apparent upward momentum

By Chris Wang  /  Staff Reporter

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 - Page 3

Some Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters and staff have privately expressed concerns about DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) electoral chances despite recent rallies that have made her momentum appearing unstoppable.

On the sidelines of a rally in Greater Tainan on Saturday, which drew about 100,000 participants, a supporter asked his friend if he thought Tsai was going to win.

“Judging from the momentum Tsai has enjoyed in the campaign, I really don’t see any reason why she cannot [win], but I’m afraid that just won’t be enough,” the friend said.

The supporter’s answer was similar to what most DPP aides and campaigners have said when they were asked the same question.

A senior aide, who wished to remain anonymous, went as far as saying: “I think I shouldn’t be saying this, but perhaps it will take God’s will for Tsai to pull off a victory.”

Their concerns were warranted, because the DPP has wound up on many occasions losing elections against its main rival, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), despite going into the final polls with a strong chance of winning.

The best example was the mayoral elections for the five special municipalities in 2010. The DPP won two out of the five mayoral positions, losing in New Taipei City (新北市), Taipei and Greater Taichung.

The elections were marred by a shooting, which injured Sean Lien (連勝文), a son of former vice president Lien Chan (連戰), on the eve of the polls, in particular those in Greater Taichung and New Taipei City, where the DPP believed it had a good chance of winning.

However, the Taipei mayoral election was the one that caught the DPP by surprise, as the DPP candidate, former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), was thought to have run a creative and popular campaign against a relatively weak opponent —Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) — with most of Su’s campaign rallies drawing tens of thousands of supporters.

What was thought to be a close race turned out to be a landslide with Su losing by 170,000 votes, or about 12 percent.