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The KMT has nothing to go on against Tsai

The KMT has nothing to go on against Tsai

Taiwan's presidential election is still four months shy, but opinion polls for the January 16 presidential race have been quite consistent in showing a firm lead for Democratic Progressive Party's Tsai Ing-wen.

But depending on which pollster conducts the opinion poll, the results can sometimes turn out very different, as demonstrated by Kuomintang’s presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu.

On Sunday, in a desperate attempt to soothe the rustled feathers of her supporters, Hung expressed confidence that she would secure victory in next year’s presidential race, saying her campaign’s polls showed her support rating trailing that of her rival Tsai by only a small margin.

“Internal polls conducted by my campaign team suggest the two of us are closely matched,” Hung told reporters during an event at the KMT headquarters in Taipei.

Hung, who came out all cocky and brash prior to her so-called “contemplation break” in early September, has had to tone down her rhetoric after realizing that her eccentric love for Beijing cannot be easily sold to the conscious-minded voters in Taiwan. So, in an attempt to win back supporters, Hung even said she does not favor rapid unification with China as the public has assumed.

But old habits die hard. Hung and her pan-Blue counterparts cannot go without using defamation tactics against their opponents. The “1992 Consensus” appears to be one of them, a subject which the KMT has repeatedly attacked Tsai for her stance on the status quo. It is also evident enough that the KMT clearly has nothing to go on other than picking a fight that involves cross-strait relations.

President Ma Ying-jeou, who has less than a year in office, has shown to be very adamant about the status quo, a peace trophy he believes his administration has brought to the island for the past seven years. During the Taiwan-US-Japan Trilateral Security Dialogue last week, Ma again expressed his doubt about Tsai’s definition on the “status quo of peace and stability,” a make-believe achievement in which Ma raves to the public time and time again.

But while Tsai quietly goes about her own business, Hung hasn’t shown anything substantial that would help her win more supports – as shown in recent poll results.

A Taiwan Thinktank poll conducted two weeks ago showed Tsai as having 47.6 percent support, against Hung’s 16.3 percent and People First Party (PFP) Soong’s 13.9 percent. Similarly, in a poll conducted by Taiwan Indicators Survey Research (TISR) a month earlier, 37.3 percent polled said they would vote for Tsai, while Soong garnered 19.1 percent and Hung 12.7 percent. What’s more, even the polls conducted by United Daily News (UDN) yielded similar results.

Based on the collective results, Tsai has maintained 40 to 50 percent support consistently, and it’s likely to stay that way if nothing drastic happens, such as rumors and controversies that may hamper her support rating.

According to observers, it is clearly a one-sided victory for Tsai, whose support exceeds that of Hung and Soong combined. This suggests a major change in the island’s political landscape where support for the Pan-Blue coalition is quickly diminishing.

The opinion polls, by making it clear to all that Tsai is leading, only serve to put pressure on the ruling KMT, which is already fighting an uphill battle. To make matters even worse, Hung, who claimed she has turned over a new leaf after taking a brief pause in the woods, remains as unappealing as ever.

In short, contrary to KMT’s alleged criticisms, the DPP contender has reiterated her desire to push for the peaceful and stable development of cross-strait relations, stipulating that this should be done in accordance with the will of the Taiwan people and the existing constitutional order.

Moreover, Tsai has assured the United States that under her leadership, Taiwan will be a reliable partner in ensuring peace and stability in the region. All her statements indicate that she is unlikely to pursue provocative policies as described by Hung and the KMT.

Long gone are the glory days of partisan politics. The crushing nine-in-one electoral defeat last November is testament to KMT’s lost glamor. But while the party and its Pan-Blue coalition continue to stay divided, Tsai and the DPP can remain happily at the forefront in opinion polls until the ballots are counted on January 16.

Updated : 2022-05-29 01:39 GMT+08:00