Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) formally declared her candidacy for next year’s presidential race yesterday after receiving her party’s nomination, calling for solidarity and strength to change the nation.
“Today is an important day and I am honored to accept the DPP’s nomination to take part in the Republic of China’s next presidential election on behalf of the DPP,” Tsai, 58, told a press conference at DPP headquarters in Taipei.
Tsai’s nomination was approved at a meeting of the party’s Central Executive Committee to a round of applause shortly before the press conference.
It will be Tsai’s second shot at the presidency, after losing to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in the 2012 presidential election, in which Tsai garnered 45.63 percent of the votes, while Ma received 51.6 percent.
“The night we were beaten, there were many young people crying,” Tsai said.
“Today, I want to tell you all — and myself — I will do whatever I can to turn those tears to laughter,” Tsai added.
Tsai said the development of cross-strait relations had to be subject to the will of Taiwanese and could not be undertaken as party-to-party negotiations.
“The basic principle of our party in cross-strait relations is to maintain the ‘status quo,’” Tsai said.
“After we [the DPP] come to power, we will examine agreements [with China] case by case, according to the law, and will continue negotiations,” she added.
Tsai also attacked the KMT over the nation’s growing wealth gap and growing youth unemployment, vowing to rehabilitate the nation’s economy.
“The government has shut the door on the public and refused to listen to them,” she said.
The KMT has yet to announce its nomination, but Tsai leads all the likely candidates in opinion polls.
As the DPP announced its candidate for next year’s presidential election, China yesterday warned the party to heed the lessons of the last time it was in power and not to push for independence.
“If [the DPP] upholds the Taiwanese independence splittist position of ‘one country on either side of the Taiwan Strait,’ then it will be hard to find a way out for cross-strait relations,” China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) told a regular press briefing in Beijing. “This is not a new talking point — this is what happened between 2000 and 2008. One need not look far for a lesson.”