Sun, Dec 04, 2011 - Page 1 News List

2012 ELECTIONS: Presidential candidates cross swords

HEAD TO HEAD:The following is a transcription of the third part of yesterday’s televised presidential debate, in which each candidate posed two questions to each opponent

Transcribed by Loa Iok-sin, Lee I-chia and Jake Chung  /  Staff Reporters

A combined picture shows Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou, left, Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen, center, and People First Party Chairman James Soong, right, taking part in a three-way televised debate yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九): Chairperson Tsai [Ing-wen, (蔡英文)], you said in your opening statement that ‘It is Tsai Ing-wen who stands in front of you, not [former president] Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).’ That is, of course, correct. However, you forgot to mention that many of those standing behind you were members of Chen Shui-bian’s team. Clearly Chairperson Tsai is aware of this problem, which is why she continues to stress that the members of her campaign team would not necessarily become members of her government.

In fact, so many people in your team have been involved in judicial cases — some have been indicted and others found guilty — that it has to be asked whether it can reasonably be considered a good team. How does the public feel about it?

If we look at the list of Democratic Progressive Party’s [DPP] -legislators-at-large, one candidate was found guilty of paying people to turn up at rallies and has withdrawn from the list, one has been found guilty of insider trading, another of credit violation, and one has been sentenced to eight years in jail on corruption charges.

Despite this, Chairperson Tsai still insists this is the best list ever, and much better than anything the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has to offer. My questions is, how is this a good list?

The public does not share her view of the DPP’s list. Chairperson Tsai, do you still think this is a good list? Chairman Soong, what do you think?

Tsai: Thank you. President Ma Ying-jeou, you have been in office for a while now and you have been KMT chairman for even longer. You should know that whether a team is good, efficient and clean, depends on the leader. If the leader leads effectively and ensures that the team is clean, then it is clean.

The DPP used the time after its defeat in 2008 to engage in a period of self-reflection and we came back stronger as a result. In terms of income, the party depends on the gradual accumulation of small donations. As a result, we cherish the people’s support, learn from that experience, stand closer to the people and are determined to take care of the disadvantaged in society.

However, the key is the leader. President Ma says that some people have legal problems. Well, judicial cases should be handled by the judiciary. The entire team should not be judged by the acts of a few. If we are talking about the behavior of individuals then I would like to ask President Ma, how many people in the KMT have been involved in election irregularities or vote-buying?

A great many by-elections have been held as a result of the actions of such people, so I would like to know if President Ma has ever thought of his own team as a group of election cheats and vote-buyers? What do you have to say to Taiwanese society about that? The key is the leader and it is how a team is led that matters. I would say that Tsai Ing-wen’s team is both clean and efficient.

James Soong (宋楚瑜): I think that the question raised by Chairman Ma is worth addressing seriously. Chairperson Tsai, we all have high expectations of your leadership of the DPP. However, as Chairman Ma said, there are two things that worry people: your complicated relationship with Chen Shui-bian’s office; and the fact that you are clearly influenced by that office in the way you deal with cross-strait issues.

This teaches us a good lesson — one that can be equally applied to Chairman Ma — we know that a good team is not only about a legislators-at-large list, it is also about the momentum of a government. In 2000, we could feel that people were tired of political corruption and had high expectations of the DPP government.

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