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September 24, 2017

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DPP fears growing support for NPP, other third parties

TAIPEI, Taiwan--The current elections are reportedly seeing a new trend, with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) concerned that their votes are becoming diluted by the rise of smaller political parties such as the New Power Party (NPP).

Pan-green supporters have begun advocating "vote allocation," a tactical voting strategy used to evenly distribute votes, usually employed in areas where a political party has nominated two candidates, reported local media.

In the DPP's case, pan-green supporters may choose to vote for smaller pan-green political parties — such as the NPP — which share similar political positions, on the belief that smaller parties require more support, thus undermining the DPP's expectations that more of its legislative-at-large nominees would be elected to the new Legislative Yuan.

DPP presidential candidate and Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), appeared at a press conference — which also showcased a new party political broadcast — to express her concerns at the DPP's "difficulties" in campaigning.

Addressing three concerns in her opening speech, Tsai warned about so-called vote-buying, which she said could likely distort results; questioned whether young voters would choose to return home on Election Day; and mentioned the dilution of the DPP's votes.

Tsai went on to call the party's legislator-at-large seat list "the least DPP" list, as many of the nominees are not part of the party, or had not participated in DPP-related operations. "But they are experts in their respective fields, and could act for voters free of political baggage in the Legislative Yuan," she said.

In the 2012 legislative elections, the DPP won 13 legislator-at-large seats, Tsai stated. This time, she warned that Chung Kung-chao (鍾孔炤), who is No. 15 on the list and is an activist for labor unions and the Hakka people, and No. 16 on the list, Lin Ching-yi (林靜儀), an activist for women's rights, could easily lose their chance at election, suggesting the party was facing difficulties winning 14 to 15 legislator-at-large seats.

The DPP's legislator-at-large candidates also appeared at the press conference to garner support.

Citing similar concerns, DPP Central Standing Committee members brought the issue up during their weekly meeting after the press conference, with Tsai sharing her thoughts on the matter, as reported by DPP spokesman Ruan Jhao-syong (阮昭雄) at a post-meeting media conference.

Can't Win Voters Back?

However, local media said, citing DPP sources, that it might be too late to win back votes for the legislators-at-large election.

The NPP, seen as the strongest of the third parties, has been named by analysts as the most likely party to become the third-largest party in Taiwan, leapfrogging the current third-placed party in the Legislature, the Taiwan Solidarity Union.

The DPP also highlighted that with the NPP's current level of support, the party could expect to win at least seven seats, despite them only nominating six candidates for seats, worrying many high-ranking DPP officials.

NPP officials, however, stated that they did not hold the same optimistic outlook, suggesting the party could only take around four to five seats. "This is a tactical strategy employed by the DPP" to win support, the party said.

NPP election rallying events at the weekend will also invite No. 5 legislator-at-large nominee Go Grandriders (不老騎士) and No. 6 film director Ke Yi-zheng (柯一正) to stump for support.

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