Mon, Jan 28, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Ma, Hsieh register their presidential candidacies

FINAL COUNTDOWN Ma Ying-jeou spoke of the weight of responsibility, while Frank Hsieh made a `five noes' pledge and questioned his rival's loyalty to the nation

By Flora Wang and Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou, left, and his running mate, Vincent Siew, smile at a campaign rally in Taipei yesterday.

PHOTO: EPA

Accompanied by throngs of supporters and party officials, the nation's presidential candidates registered their candidacies with the Central Election Commission (CEC) yesterday.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) arrived first, vowing to fight for victory in the March 22 presidential election "with great caution."

Accompanied by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) and greeted by cheering supporters, Ma and his running mate, Vincent Siew (蕭萬長), completed their registration at about 10:20am.

CALM

"I feel very calm now. Having completed the registration process ... I feel the weight of responsibility and I will act with great caution from now on," Ma said afterwards.

As part of the registration process, Ma handed over a NT$15 million (US$464,000) registration deposit to the CEC.

The commission will review the presidential candidates' applications on Feb. 12, before holding a drawing to determine the numbers attributed to the candidates on presidential ballots on Feb. 15.

Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and his running mate, Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), arrived at the office in the company of their wives at about 11:30am.

The group was heavily guarded by police as the candidates addressed the media following their registration.

Some 250 police officers stood guard at the CEC as DPP supporters waved Hsieh campaign flags and chanted slogans.

PLEDGE

Speaking outside the commission, Hsieh made a "five noes" pledge.

"If I am elected president, my family and I will not invest in the stock market," he said. "My spouse, children and I will not serve as board members of any foundations, nor will we engage in any commercial activities with any government agencies."

Hsieh said nobody in his family had a US green card or a passport issued by a foreign country.

"I believe, as presidential candidates, we need to make some information [about ourselves] available to the public. People have the right to know," he said.

Hsieh said although the law did not prohibit the president and the first family from making stock investments, the president should impose "the highest possible standards" upon himself.

Hsieh said he did not make the pledges to target Ma, who said on Jan. 18 that he would not prohibit his family members from buying and selling stocks if elected president, as long as no insider trading was involved.

Hsieh said yesterday that he was "very surprised" to hear Ma's comments on the matter and that he made the "no stock market" pledge in a bid to distance himself from his rival.

"This is a very serious issue," Hsieh said.

Later, at the opening of his campaign headquarters in Taipei, Hsieh suggested that Ma may have a green card or US passport.

"Ma is being extremely proud by refusing to disclose his or his family's immigration status," he said.

Hsieh said the next legislature would enable Ma to cover up any wrongdoing because the majority of its lawmakers would be from Ma's party.

"If I do anything wrong, the legislature will depose me. But the legislature will never dare to depose Ma, which means he will be protected even if he performs poorly as president," he said.

Hsieh urged voters to scrutinize Ma's economic policies, which the DPP candidate said would widen the gap between the rich and the poor.

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