The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday outlined six primary reasons for its loss in the presidential election last month and concluded that the party’s support rate took a dramatic hit in the final two weeks of the campaign.
However, the DPP decided to put on hold a thorough discussion of the future direction of its China policy, arguably the most important factor behind its loss, opting to focus on the “technical” side of the election in a Central Standing Committee meeting when outgoing DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) submitted a draft election review to the party.
“The review concluded that the following reasons contributed to our loss, including voters’ doubts about the DPP as a ruling party, a collaborated effort of the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] and the Chinese Communist Party to use the cross-strait economy as a scare tactic and the KMT’s abuse of its administrative resources as campaign tools,” DPP spokesperson Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) told reporters after the three-hour meeting.
Also, many DPP supporters could not return to their hometowns to vote because the election was held one week before the Lunar New Year holiday, Lin said.
The last two reasons were a lower-than-expected turnout rate and tactical voting, which saw pan-blue voters choosing to “abandon” the People First Party’s (PFP) presidential candidate, Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), and vote for President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the KMT instead, Lin said.
The committee agreed that the KMT had run a more “technically successful” campaign in terms of crisis management and campaign tactics, as well as communications, Lin added.
The review contained two parts — an analysis of the change of the DPP’s support rate throughout the entire campaign and opinion polls conducted after the election, as well as an analysis of the DPP’s campaign strategy and policy.
The review found that Tsai had pulled ahead of Ma at least four times during the final six months of the campaign and that she still enjoyed an advantage as late as the end of December last year, before the situation took a dramatic turn.
Results of the DPP’s final internal poll showed that Tsai trailed Ma by 4 percent, the party’s polling center director Chen Chun-lin (陳俊麟) said.
Tsai lost to Ma by about 800,000 votes, or about 6 percent. She pledged to deliver a complete election report that would examine the campaign using a scientific approach, rather than assumptions.
The review also found that pan-blue supporters’ willingness to vote had gone up by 15 percent between November and Jan. 14, and that Tsai lost her edge among swing voters in a two-month period from early November onwards, Chen said.
In addition, statistics showed voter turnout in traditional KMT strongholds enjoyed larger increases of about 5 percent or 6 percent over those in the DPP-dominated regions.
The same phenomenon happened in urban areas, such as Taoyuan, New Taipei City (新北市) and Taipei, where the KMT enjoyed stronger support, Chen said.
In southern Taiwan, 19 percent of respondents in Yunlin and Chiayi counties, as well as in Greater Tainan, said at least one of their family members was not able to return to their hometown to vote, which was 7 percentage points higher than the national average of 12 percent, Chen said, citing results of a post-election survey.
The committee’s meeting did briefly touch upon the party’s China policy, DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) told reporters, adding there was no evidence indicating voters had decided not to support the DPP because of its refusal to accept the so-called “1992 consensus.”
However, the KMT and Beijing had successfully stigmatized the DPP as an anti-trade party and a party that opposes cross-strait engagement, Pan said.
“The DPP has always said it supports the normalization of cross-strait trade relations. Tsai Ing-wen also maintained that view when she served as chairperson of the Mainland Affairs Council,” Pan said.
Tsai is scheduled to deliver the final review to the party’s Central Executive Committee on Wednesday next week.
She steps down as chairperson on March 1.
CALL FOR PEACE: Czech President Petr Pavel raised concerns about China’s military maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait and its ‘unfriendly action’ in the South China Sea The leaders of three diplomatic allies — Guatemala, Paraguay and Palau — on Tuesday voiced support for Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN on the first day of the UN General Debate in New York. In his address during the 78th UN General Assembly, Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr urged the UN and all parties involved in cross-strait issues to exercise restraint and seek a peaceful resolution. “The well-being and prosperity of nations and their economies are intrinsically linked to global peace and stability,” he said. He also thanked partner nations such as Taiwan, Australia, Japan and the US for providing assistance
CROSS-STRAIT CONCERNS: At the same US Congress hearing, Mira Resnick said a US government shutdown could affect weapons sales and licenses to allies such as Taiwan A Chinese blockade of Taiwan would be a “monster risk” for Beijing and likely to fail, while a military invasion would be extremely difficult, senior Pentagon officials told the US Congress on Tuesday. Growing worries of a conflict come as China has ramped up military pressure on Taiwan, holding large-scale war games simulating a blockade on the nation, while conducting near-daily warplane incursions and sending Chinese vessels around its waters. US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner said a blockade would be “a monster risk for the PRC [People’s Republic of China].” “It would likely not succeed, and it
IMPORTS: Fifty-four million imported eggs with a value of more than NT$200 million had to be destroyed, mostly because they expired in storage facilities Minister of Agriculture Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) last night announced that he would resign from his post. Local media on Sunday reported that Chen had resigned due to controversy over the ministry’s egg import program. Later that same evening, the Executive Yuan said that Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) had asked the minister to stay on to resolve the issue. Chen Chi-chung last night made public his decision to resign on Facebook, saying that this time he would not be dissuaded. Chen Chi-chung earlier yesterday apologized for the furor surrounding the egg import program, but added that misinformation had made the problems worse. The government was
AMPHIBIOUS EXERCISES: The defense ministry said that it had detected 24 Chinese PLA Air Force planes entering Taiwan’s air defense zone over the previous 24 hours Chinese movements around Taiwan were “abnormal,” Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said yesterday, flagging recent amphibious exercises in addition to drills Taipei has observed in China’s Fujian Province. Taiwan has reported a rise in Chinese military activity over the past week as dozens of fighters, drones, bombers and other aircraft, as well as warships, have operated around the nation. “Our initial analysis is that they are doing joint drills in September, including land, sea, air and amphibious,” Chiu told reporters at the legislature in Taipei. The “recent enemy situation is quite abnormal,” he said. The comments followed a statement from the