Taipei Times: 2020 Elections Analysis: Parties in legislature weigh in on election prospects

Officials from the four political parties that are represented in the Legislative Yuan have weighed in on the parties’ prospects of winning legislative seats in the Jan. 11 elections.

The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) chances of winning more regional legislative seats have increased over the past three months, party sources said on Sunday, citing two controversies as catalysts

The latest polls show that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who is seeking re-election for the DPP, has also boosted the prospects of the party’s legislative candidates, the sources said, describing the situation as a “hen leading its chicks.”

Tsai has a double-digit percentage point lead against Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), the KMT’s presidential candidate, in several regions, which has boosted the party’s confidence of winning a legislative majority, they said.

It is particularly important for Tsai to support the party’s legislative candidates in central and southern Taiwan, which used to be DPP strongholds, but became swing regions after Han’s election as Kaohsiung mayor last year, they said.

Meanwhile, KMT sources said the approval ratings of the party’s presidential and legislative candidates early this month exceeded those of the DPP candidates in its internal polls.

Taipei prosecutors’ indictment on Dec. 2 of Yang Hui-ju (楊蕙如) over alleged links to Su’s suicide played a role in the change, they said.

Yang, a former campaign aide to Representative to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), is accused of hiring people to influence public opinion online, and attack or deride opponents.

Yang allegedly directed an online campaign to defend Hsieh by accusing Su of dereliction of duty and failing to help Taiwanese stranded at Kansai Airport in Osaka when Typhoon Jebi hit Japan on Sept. 4 last year.

The accusations stemmed from a fabricated report that the Chinese embassy in Japan sent buses to evacuate Chinese stranded at the airport. Although the report was later proven to be false, it sparked criticism of perceived inaction by the ministry.

The Internet team allegedly called Su and other branch personnel “festering remnants of the party-state ruled by the KMT,” and wished death upon them, which some said might have contributed to Su committing suicide at his residence in Osaka eight days later.

KMT Deputy Secretary-General Alex Tsai (蔡正元) on Sunday said that while winning 55 or 57 legislative seats to obtain a majority would be a challenge, the party would have no problems securing it by winning more than 50 seats.

“The KMT will undoubtedly defeat the DPP in the legislative election — it is only a matter of by how much,” he said.

The approval ratings for the KMT’s regional and at-large legislative nominees surpassed those of the DPP’s within a week of Yang’s indictment, Alex Tsai said.

Many Internet users have condemned Yang’s behavior and expressed their disapproval of Joseph Wu’s response to the incident, he said, adding that the minister’s inaction would affect the vote results.

In contrast, the DPP’s online campaign to recall Wu Sz-huai launched on Nov. 28 has garnered only one-third of the online reaction sparked by Yang’s indictment, Alex Tsai said.

The KMT expects to win at least 13 at-large seats, depending on how many votes minor parties win, he said.

The KMT expects the Taiwan People’s Party, founded by Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) in August, to be the only party to win at-large seats besides the KMT and the DPP, and its number of seats would affect the chances of the pan-blue and pan-green camps to obtain a majority, Alex Tsai added.

The People First Party (PFP) on Sunday began a relay across Taiwan on electric scooters, with at-large nominees visiting social welfare facilities.

The PFP’s goal is to hold on to its three seats in the legislature and boost Soong’s approval rating above Han’s this week, as higher presidential approval ratings could benefit the prospects of the party’s at-large nominees, Chang Sho-wen said.

New Power Party (NPP) Chairman Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) estimated that the party might win one or two regional seats, and three at-large seats.

Claire Wang (王婉諭), who is No. 3 on the party’s list of at-large nominees, should be in the safe range, he said.

However, more effort would be needed to keep NPP Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌), No. 4 on the list, in the legislature, Hsu said.

The party would launch a campaign 10 days before the elections to travel throughout Taiwan and tout Huang’s achievements, he said.

The party is optimistic about winning four at-large seats, he added.

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