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ELECTIONS 2022/DPP publishes report examining reasons for local election defeat

12/28/2022 09:19 PM
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Former Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan. CNA photo Dec. 28, 2022
Former Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan. CNA photo Dec. 28, 2022

Taipei, Dec. 28 (CNA) The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has published a report reviewing the reasons for its defeat in last month's local government elections, in which it captured just five out of Taiwan's 22 cities and counties.

The report, compiled by a team led by former Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦), was submitted to the DPP's Central Standing Committee at a meeting Wednesday.

The DPP later publicly released an 3,800-word executive summary -- about one-third the length of the full report.

The report concluded that the DPP's poor performance in the election was caused by a "significant" loss of support from young and moderate voters.

Driving this trend were issues including the impact of COVID-19 and high inflation on people's livelihoods, as well as poor communication around the issue of compulsory military service against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, according to the report.

Dec. 27: Extended military service to include higher pay, longer boot camp: President

The report also identified the party's handling of high-profile public security incidents, plagiarism scandals involving DPP candidates, and allegations of party ties to organized crime as factors in its loss.

In terms of electoral strategy, the report said the DPP faced a series of challenges stemming from its late nomination of candidates following a COVID-19 surge in the early part of the summer.

Because of the truncated campaign season, the DPP had trouble organizing local campaigns, gaining a clear understanding of three-way races, and effectively "framing" and communicating about issues to the public, it said.

Notably, the summary of the report did not include any mention of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who also served as DPP chair before resigning in the wake of the party's election defeat.

Nov. 26: President Tsai resigns as DPP chairperson after election setback

It also made relatively little mention of tensions with China, other than to say that "fear-mongering" slogans and narratives by opposition parties had made some inroads in the media and with people on the street.

Meanwhile, the report identified several specific incidents -- the stabbing deaths of two Tainan police officers, the shooting up of a Tainan politician's office, and widespread jobs scams that lured young Taiwanese to Cambodia -- which it said had harmed the public's confidence in the DPP's ability to govern.

The report used similar language to describe allegations of academic plagiarism made against several DPP (and other parties') candidates, in what became a "breakthrough issue" in the 2022 campaign.

In this area, it said that the DPP was unable to efficiently "stanch the bleeding or set a threshold for cutting its losses" with certain candidates, instead handling their cases in a way that damaged young voters' trust and had spillover effects in other cities and counties.

Summarizing the Nov. 26 election, the report said the party had seen a major erosion of support from 2020, reflecting public dissatisfaction and resulting in many voters staying home or casting their ballots for other parties.

The DPP "needs to evaluate why the ruling party's confidence appears in the eyes of the people as the ruling party's arrogance. These lost voters chose to place checks and balances on the DPP, not to support it," the report said.

The report's publication comes as the DPP prepares to hold a party-wide election for a new chairperson next month, which is almost certain to be won by Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德).

(By Yeh Su-ping, Wen Kuei-hsiang and Matthew Mazzetta)


> Chinese Version

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