Sun, Mar 23, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Presidential election 2008: Losing Ticket: Hsieh congratulates the victor

FAREWELL? Although he promised to 'continue to protect Taiwan,' Hsieh also hinted that he would make good on a promise to quit politics if he lost

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Frank Hsieh, second left, and running mate Su Tseng-chang, second right, bow to their supporters following their defeat last night in Taipei.

PHOTO: CHU PEI-HSIUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday conceded defeat and promised to "keep all his promises" following his loss in the presidential election.

Hsieh lost to his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) rival Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) by more than 2 million votes. While Hsieh and his running mate Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) garnered more than 41 percent of the vote, the KMT ticket amassed more than 58 percent.

This is the second election setback for the DPP this year. It lost to the KMT in the legislative elections in January, with the KMT securing a strong majority.

Hsieh had said in the run-up to the election that he would quit politics if he lost. It is also customary in the DPP for the party chairman to bear the political responsibility for an election defeat by resigning from the post.

Hsieh, however, did not say anything about stepping down last night after talking to supporters who gathered outside his campaign office after the election result was released.

With the crowd chanting "Frank Hsieh, don't go" and "jiayou" (an expression of encouragement), Hsieh led his campaign team in bowing to the public and apologized to the people of Taiwan for failing them.

"This is my personal setback, not the failure of Taiwan," he said. "It is the outcome of democracy and not a failure. Don't cry for me tonight. I will continue to protect Taiwan and its people. My life is here, not anywhere else."

Hsieh said he was sorry that his party's performance failed to meet the expectations of the public and that he should be held responsible for the defeat.

"The people of Taiwan used their ballots to make a decision today," he said. "I accept the result of the election and I want to offer my congratulations to my competitor."

He urged DPP supporters to accept the election result and to face the loss calmly. Although the process was disputable, Hsieh said, he would accept the result and urged his supporters to do the same.

"Let's mend the fractures caused during the election process so that people can again live in an environment that is full of love and trust," he said.

Although the DPP lost the election, Hsieh said, there was a more important thing to do: to carry the torch of democracy.

"Let's turn our disappointment into power and continue to protect democracy," he said.

The country's development had never been plain sailing, Hsieh said. But the bigger the wind, the more determined we are, he added.

"We will always be with the people," Hsieh said. "I sincerely pray for Taiwan and we believe in the people and this land."

Hsieh thanked the hard work and contributions of his campaign team and volunteers. He said he would never forget the people whose hands he touched at the "million people high-five" rally organized by his party last Sunday.

Hsieh said he was deeply touched by the passion of the people that day and would forever remember their enthusiasm. He said he would use that enthusiasm to inspire himslef to continue to love Taiwan.

Meanwhile, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) issued a statement promising to stabilize the political situation before their terms end on May 20.

In addition to extending their congratulations to Ma and his running mate Vincent Siew (蕭萬長), Chen and Lu pledged to hand over power to the 12th president and vice president.

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