Tue, Feb 12, 2008 - Page 2 News List

First two televised presidential debates announced by CNA

STAFF WRITER

The first televised presidential debate has been scheduled for Feb. 24, the Central News Agency (CNA) announced yesterday. The second debate is scheduled for March 9.

The debate is to be organized by the CNA, the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister paper), China Times, United Daily News, Apple Daily and Public Television Service.

Organizers yesterday said that they visited Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) last year and Ma agreed to hold the first debate on Feb. 24. Organizers said they would visit Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) today to extend the official invitation.

Organizers said Hsieh has expressed strong interest in participating in the televised debates and Ma has offered his verbal consent. The two, however, could not agree on the format, dates and number of debates, which slowed the negotiation process.

Hsieh and Ma have criticized each other for delaying the process, with Hsieh accusing Ma of dodging his invitation for the debates. Ma, on the other hand, berated Hsieh for being impatient, saying they would be held, one way or another.

In addition to the televised debates, the Central Election Commission will also hold four live TV presentations, in which the presidential and vice presidential candidates will present their platforms.

Commission officials said the first of three presentations by Hsieh and Ma would be held on Feb. 29. The second will be on March 7. The third -- reserved for the two vice-presidential candidates, Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) of the DPP and Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) of the KMT -- will also be held on March 7, while the fourth will be held on March 14, again with Ma and Hsieh.

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