A number of Hakka groups staged a rally in Taipei yesterday to drum up support for former deputy premier Yeh Chu-lan (
Yeh is a Hakka from Miaoli while Hsieh is a Hoklo born in Taipei.
"We support a Hsieh-Yeh ticket. Yield to nobody when it's a just cause" read many of the placards waved by a crowd of supporters at the 228 Memorial Park.
The rally was organized by several Hakka groups, including the Taiwan Hakka Association; the Hakka Association for Public Affairs in Taipei; associations in Taoyuan and Hsinchu; Miaoli natives residing in Taipei; and grassroots Hakka organizations in Taipei City and Taipei County.
"Yeh has served the country well in every position she has had and would therefore be an excellent vice presidential candidate for 2008," Lee Chiao (
In line with DPP tradition, Hsieh is free to pick his running mate.
While the DPP is not traditionally favored in Hakka areas, many believe that the DPP might attract more Hakka votes if Hsieh chooses Yeh as his running mate.
DPP Legislator Perng Shaw-jiin (
"With Yeh, the DPP would be able to gain at least 100,000 votes in Hakka areas," he said.
The speech at the rally by Chen Shang-lin (
"We will vote for a Hsieh-Yeh alliance, not because we support Hsieh, but because we support Yeh," Chen said in Hakka. "If Hsieh doesn't pair up with Yeh, I will not vote for him."
Yeh, who also attended the rally, said Hakkas should play a key role in next year's presidential election, adding that she would be glad to take the responsibility of running for vice president.
"We have yet to achieve a stable, Taiwan-centric government, and Hakkas should certainly contribute to creating such a government," Yeh told the crowd.
As most DPP leaders speak Hoklo, Hakkas sometimes feel isolated from the DPP, despite the party's efforts to preserve and promote the Hakka language and culture, she said
"I'd be glad to take the responsibility of being the bridge between Hakkas and the DPP," Yeh said.
Yeh said that Hsieh should make the decision, adding that she would respect his decision.
Hakkas constitute the nation's second-largest ethnic group, accounting for about 21 percent of the population. The nation has never had a Hakka president or vice president.
Additional reporting by CNA
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