Inspired by a fairytale and a piggybank offering from three young children, the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) campaign for the 2012 presidential and legislative elections has become a moving story of how the weak could confront the strong. Faced by a formidable opponent that has been described as one of the wealthiest political party in the world, DPP's piggybank fundraising drive raised an equivalent of 6.7 million US dollars, manifesting that people's support is the greatest resource in any electoral exercise.
CALD was privileged to witness this people-driven campaign firsthand when it sent an electoral mission to Taiwan last 4-9 January 2012. Elected officials, potential candidates and campaign workers from CALD member organizations joined the mission to observe the campaign of DPP Chair Dr. Tsai Ing-wen, the country's first female presidential candidate and DPP standard-bearer in the upcoming elections.
The highlight of the mission was the party's Super Sunday rally in Taipei City in which Dr. Tsai spoke before an estimated 100, 000 supporters. Also in attendance were Tsai's running mate, Mr. Su Jia-Chyuan, and the party's candidates for the Legislative Yuan in Taipei City.
Apart from visiting campaign branches in Taoyuan City, Taipei City and Taichung City, participants had the opportunity to observe campaign activities, including a briefing of volunteers, street sweeps and rally preparations. The program was enriched by briefings at the Central Election Commission of Taiwan, a survey research center and the Yilan County Hall. A workshop on election campaign strategy was also conducted and included topics on fundraising, polling, propaganda, and grassroots mobilization.
Electoral observation missions are among CALD's regular activities in order to allow CALD member organizations to gain perspectives on political campaign strategies. Since 2000, CALD has been collaborating with the DPP to observe elections in Taiwan, unarguably one of the world's most advanced democracies.
CALD is in solidarity with the DPP in positively awaiting the 14 January election results.