Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) sought on the first stop of her “friendship” tour yesterday to mend fences with an outspoken critic and former rival in the party primary.
Following a one-hour discussion, Tsai and former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) appeared side by side and both emphasized the need to ensure party unity in the run-up to the presidential and legislative elections on Jan. 14.
This was the first of several private sessions Tsai has scheduled with DPP politicians to build support for her presidential campaign. She was confirmed as the party’s candidate after a tightly fought primary last month.
“I want to give you a warning,” Lu said, shaking hands with Tsai as the two traded greetings, their first in several months. “You will suffer from flash damage. Your predecessor ... was used to the camera lights but still damaged his eyes.”
The discussions were the first between the two since a public split three months ago, when Lu, running for the presidential nomination, slammed DPP revisions to its nomination mechanism.
“I’m glad that Tsai didn’t forget an elderly person like me,” Lu said.
DPP Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) and spokesperson Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦), who attended the meeting, called the session productive, adding that Tsai had informed Lu of the latest developments in her campaign.
Lu said she had given Tsai some insight into foreign affairs and military issues as well as advice on the elections.
“Lu reminded me that I must use my best efforts to consolidate the party and appeal to party elders to win the elections,” Tsai said. “She said we must make clear how we differ from the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT].”
Tsai deflected questions on whether her “friendship” tour would take her to former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), whom she narrowly defeated in the primary.
The DPP leader was also evasive when pressed on when she planned to add staff from Su’s campaign office into the party or her own presidential campaign, saying arrangements would be made in due time.
“We will consolidate our party’s fighting ability for the elections and make the best arrangements,” she said.