Wed, Feb 20, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Tsai to seek re-election

CHALLENGES:Despite calls from senior independence advocates for her to step aside, the president said that she is prepared and confident about her prospects

By Su Yung-yao and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer and CNA

President Tsai Ing-wen shakes hands with devotees of the Taoist “Wu Nien Chien Sui” at Jhen An Temple in Yunlin County yesterday.

Photo: Huang Shu-li, Taipei Times

President Tsai-Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday confirmed that she would run for re-election next year to complete her vision for the nation.

“It’s natural that any sitting president wants to do more for the country and wants to finish things on his or her agenda,” Tsai said in an interview with CNN’s Matt Rivers aboard the presidential plane, when asked about her plans for next year’s presidential election.

Asked if that means she would seek re-election, Tsai nodded and said: “Yes, yes.”

The interview took place on Monday, the Presidential Office said.

Tsai said she was confident about her prospects, adding that it is “something I have prepared for.”

However, she is also aware of the challenges ahead.

“It’s again another challenge. Being president, you’re not short of challenges. At good times you have challenges of one sort, and in bad times you have challenges of another sort,” said Tsai, whose approval rating remains below 40 percent.

In November last year, Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) suffered heavy losses in elections for local government leaders, which many saw as a referendum on her leadership and her administration’s performance.

Tsai stepped down as party chairperson to take responsibility for the losses. Senior pro-Taiwan independence advocates have urged her not to run for re-election amid concerns that this could pave the way for the China-leaning Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to retake power.

The Presidential Office yesterday said that Tsai’s primary purpose for accepting the interview with CNN was to give Taiwan a voice through an international media outlet.

During the interview, she discussed the current international situation, spoke about why she believes Taiwan will play an increasingly crucial role in global affairs and elaborated on cross-strait relations, the office said.

Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) said Tsai became an “endorser” for Taiwan during the interview, taking CNN’s correspondent to Taipei’s Ximending (西門町) area to taste traditional Taiwanese dishes, such as pork chops with rice and chicken thighs.

Through the interview, Tsai hoped to show the world the different aspects — both traditional and modern — of Taiwan, he added.

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