In the recent local elections, Taiwan’s voters have dealt the Democratic National Party (DPP) a huge loss. How can we explain this strong and relatively sudden decline in the DPP’s support among the electorate?
First, in most mature democracies, voters eventually vote out the government and vote in the opposition. In the eyes of the voters, as the party holding the presidency, the DPP has become the ruling party. This partially explains the losses in Ilan County, where the DPP and its dangwai (outside the party, Èª®Â§ñ) predecessor had held power for 24 years, and in Taipei County, where the DPP had been in power for 16 years. The only other place where the DPP has held power for at least 16 years, Kaohsiung County, provided one of the few DPP success stories this election.
Second, the corruption issue resonated strongly with voters. The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was much more corrupt when in power, but voters were more concerned with the current ruling party. The Chen Che-nan (Èô≥Âì≤Áî∑) case hurt, but it only symbolized greater corruption at lower levels in the DPP. As the ruling party, the DPP has attracted new elements who are driven by personal interests rather than ideals. These people have hurt the DPP’s reputation and made a mockery of its campaign slogan, “Push Reform, Care for Taiwan.” On election eve, some more orthodox DPP members in the south sadly cracked a joke that held considerable truth: “The DPP has reform. We now buy votes.”
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