The three Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidates yesterday devoted the second televised policy session of the presidential primaries to answering how they plan to solve some of Taiwan’s most pressing problems.
In contrast to the first televised platform session, candidates answered questions posed by civic groups and individuals ranging from Aborigines to business executives and pro-independence figures.
Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良) each responded to three different prerecorded questions, all of which were chosen randomly.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
Answering first, Tsai replied to questions on Aboriginal autonomy by saying that she supported the idea “to a certain extent.” A future administration would redraw Aboriginal living areas and upgrade the role of local Aboriginal councils, she said.
She also spoke on judicial reform after being quizzed on her views on the controversial nomination of Supreme Court judge Shao Yen-ling (邵燕玲) and how she would increase gender-awareness training.
Calling on the judiciary to “connect more with society,” she said that more “public input, professionalism and transparency” was needed in the nomination process, including for members of the Council of Grand Justices.
Su answered questions on whether he would continue the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) he once opposed, as well as how the government should tackle rising commodity prices.
He said that a future administration would “continue to review what is and is not beneficial to Taiwan” in the trade pact.
“We will refine what is beneficial and take another look at what is not,” he said. “But it is clear that we cannot reject the whole agreement at once even if we regain governance.”
He said he would take substantive measures to crack down on inflation by lowering custom tariffs and asking banking regulatory agencies to enact more measures against hot money.
State-owned enterprises, including state-run CPC Corp, Taiwan, must take the lead in keeping commodity prices down, he said.
Asked about his views on cross-strait relations, including Chinese pressure on Taiwan’s international space, Hsu said: “I only care about social welfare and everything else comes second.”
“Having more or less allies does not affect the Taiwanese people. Let [Beijing] fight for our allies,” said Hsu, a former DPP chairperson, continuing his outspoken performance from last week.
“We don’t have relations with the EU, with Japan, but how has this affected the people?” he asked.
The atmosphere yesterday remained cordial, but the three candidates appeared a bit more ready to talk about substantive policy measures than last week.
Hsu kept his pressure on the other two candidates, especially Tsai, to answer tough questions on cross-strait issues, consistent with his previous remarks.
During his opening statement, he challenged Tsai to answer whether the DPP would continue to uphold the current administration’s cross-strait policies, including the ECFA.
“From Tsai’s experience in international agreements, she must know that the DPP cannot simply take without giving,” Hsu said.
Tsai only deviated slightly from her prepared remarks to say that Hsu appeared to have “misconceptions” about her ideas.
Instead, her opening remarks dealt with economic development, pledging to tackle Taiwan’s urban-rural disparity and resource distribution if elected next year.
“There are 2 million people around the country earning less than NT$20,000 [a month],” she said, pledging to make stagnating wages and consistent unemployment a priority issue for her administration.
In an attempt to drive up his appeal among women and the elderly, Su used the start of the session to give concrete ideas about subsidies, including those to drive up Taiwan’s low birthrate.
“I propose that we have fully subsidized daycares and have comprehensive birth subsidies and vacations equally across the country,” Su said, while pledging more aid for the elderly.
The session, hosted live by ETTV host Chen Ying (陳瑩), was the second in a four-part series. The third will be held on Saturday and will include some of the remaining public questions not covered yesterday.
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