Media representatives visited the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday to discuss possible presidential debates ahead of the presidential election in January.
Representatives from the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper), the China Times, United Daily News, the Apple Daily, Central News Agency and the Public Television System visited the KMT and DPP campaign offices about the debates for the first time and received positive responses from both sides.
If held, it would mark the third time nationally televised presidential debates have been held, following debates in the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections.
The debates are likely to be one-on-one encounters between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who is seeking re-election, and DPP Chairperson and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), unless a third candidate emerges.
“We appreciate the effort and we are looking forward to the debates, because the event will help the electorate understand more about the candidate and her platform,” DPP spokesman Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said.
Chen said DPP officials, including DPP Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), were briefed by the media delegation on the preliminary organization plan, but details and dates of the debates have yet to be decided.
“Traditionally, nothing [of the debate plan] will be decided -before the negotiations between both political parties. But we do not know yet when [the negotiation] will happen,” Chen said.
“The office welcomes the debates and will do its best to support the organization,” Ma campaign spokesman Lo Chih-chang (羅志強) quoted King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), the office’s executive director, who met with the media delegation, as saying.
In previous presidential debates, candidates were given time to debate and pose questions to each other before taking questions from the media and pre-selected members of the public.