The three presidential candidates crossed swords on issues ranging from cross-strait policy, the economy and administrative competency in the second of three televised platform presentation forums last night.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chose “rectitude” as his theme, stressing that people’s trust was the most valuable government asset and corruption was the strongest corrosive of such an asset.
Ma asked why the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) proposed “10-year policy” did not contain the word “rectitude.”
“Is it because rectitude is not important for Taiwan’s future, or because rectitude is, for Tsai and the DPP, a hot coal they dare not touch?” Ma asked.
Ma said the biggest difference between him and Tsai was that he met doubt and questions with clear explanations, but Tsai continued to avoid burning issues.
Tsai said that in the past four years the image of Ma in the eyes of the people had become that of a president that did not empathize with the people, and did not listen to others.
“What we carry with us is people’s expectations, not our own image,” Tsai said, alluding to her criticism of Ma that the latter only cares about his image and not the people’s problems.
Addressing the so-called “1992 consensus” issue, Tsai said that while Ma insisted on the existence of the consensus, he was also terrorizing the people of Taiwan by saying that if they did not accept the consensus all would be lost.
“Why can you not tell the people, President Ma, what price Taiwan has paid for accepting the ‘1992 consensus?’” she asked.
Tsai said she had faith in her proposed “Taiwan consensus” because it would follow a democratic procedure and would accept many opinions, which would dissolve the differences in Taiwan.
Refering to the allegation that the Ma administration has used investigation and intelligence agencies to monitor her campaign, Tsai asked Ma whether he “dare to ask the Bureau of Investigation to bring out the original documents.”
Ma stressed he has not issued a directive to monitor her nor has he received information from investigation and intelligence agencies on any surveillance of the opposition camps’ campaigns.
James Soong (宋楚瑜) of the People First Party referred to how his post-presentation news conference after the first forum was omitted by the state-run Chinese Television System (CTS), saying the attitude shown by the CTS and the Central Election Commission in handling the oversight was “typical bureaucratism.”
“It is this kind of bureaucratic attitude that makes the people want change, want to see what somebody else would do,” he said.
Pointing to the labels “corrupt” for the former DPP Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) government and “incompetent” for the current Ma administration, Soong said that nobody ever heard of the provincial team serving under him being corrupt or incompetent.
“Voters should not vote for corruption or incompetence, but for my team, which is capable of delivering on their promises,” he added.