Melee for votes between large, small parties continues

By Yuan-Ming Chiao, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The red-hot battle for the party ballot in this Saturday’s election continued on Wednesday, as large parties appealed to voters directly to shore up last minute support. Mistrust between the rising Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the fledgling New Power Party (NPP) reached newer heights on the campaign trail yesterday as DPP lawmaker Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) stumped for caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) in Hsinchu City. “The DPP is taking the bigger picture into consideration. Please do not think us lacking character,” Tuan said, directing his remarks at the smaller party. “If you want to demonstrate your so-called ‘new politics’, Hsinchu City is where you should begin.” Both parties were unable to overcome conflicts in their nomination process for the voting district, with the DPP choosing its incumbent party whip, while the NPP nominated Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智).

Tuan accused “some members” of the NPP of attempting to discredit Ker’s reputation as a politician willing to parlay with other parties in the legislature. Ker is currently the DPP’s likely choice for legislative speaker. Attrition within Pan-blue Also The downward spiral of the Kuomintang (KMT) has also been exacerbated by competition among its allied parties which formed the traditional pan-blue alliance in the 2000s. The party held a press conference touting the diversity and professionalism of its legislator-at-large candidates at party headquarters, a move seen as trying to prevent party ballots to flow into votes for the smaller New Party (NP) and People First Party (PFP). During the last political policy debates, KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) launched a rare rebuke at PFP Chairman and presidential candidate James Soong, criticizing his party’s past cooperation with the DPP government in the legislature, a move seen as trying to consolidate the KMT’s party votes. NP chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明) also called on supporters to shift their votes to his party to preserve the “core values” of the pan-blue camp.

Current electoral regulations require parties to obtain at least 5 percent of the party ballot in order to send its lawmakers to the legislature. Analysts and pundits have suggested that larger parties are falling prey to smaller political parties, eating away at the possibility of major parties forming majorities in the legislature.

The last time Taiwan’s ruling party did not possess a legislative majority was in 2000 when the DPP was elected into power for the first time, ending five decades of KMT rule.