Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) will not attend the Double Ten National Day celebration in front of the Presidential Office on Monday because of a scheduling conflict. She will attend the National Day ceremony in Greater Tainan instead.
Speaking in Pingtung County yesterday, Tsai, who is the DPP’s presidential candidate and is currently on an 11-day west coast campaign trip, said her absence from the celebrations in Taipei should not raise questions about her loyalty to the country or about patriotism because loyalty is a basic requirement of all citizens, as well as the most important element for a national leader.
“The most important thing is whether your heart is big enough to listen to different opinions,” she said.
In Taipei yesterday, DPP spokesperson Liang Wen-jie (梁文傑), noting the party’s stance that Taiwan is an independent country known as the Republic of China (ROC), did consider having Tsai return to Taipei for the National Day celebration on Monday.
However, given the tight schedule for Tsai’s 500km campaign trip, which will take her and her running mate, Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), through 79 townships in 14 counties along the west coast in 11 days, it would have been difficult for her to return to Taipei for the ceremony, Liang said.
That is why Tsai would attend the ceremony in Greater Tainan instead, Liang said.
A senior aide from Tsai’s campaign who wished to remain anonymous said that Tsai would have drawn a lot of attention if she attended the celebration in Taipei — whether she sings the national anthem and salutes the national flag among other things.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) would enjoy an enormous “home court advantage” in a choreographed event such as the National Day celebration, the senior aide said, “and that’s why we prefer not to attend.”
The final decision was not easily reached as Tsai’s campaign office debated the options and even conducted internal polls several times, the aide said.
The KMT said it respected Tsai’s decision not to attend the National Day celebrations in Taipei, but added that the ROC’s -anniversary should be celebrated by all people regardless of their political affiliation.
“The KMT respects Chairperson Tsai’s decision. However, Tsai represents the DPP in running for president of the ROC, and the celebration of the ROC National Day is an event where everyone from all political affiliations attends activities and gives their blessing to our country,” KMT spokesperson Lai Su-ju (賴素如) said.
She added that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who is seeking re-election in January, had participated in previous celebratory activities organized to mark National Day when the DPP was in power.
The official ceremony of the Double Ten National Day -celebration will be held in front of the Presidential Office at 9:22am on Monday. The ceremony will feature a performance by the Joint Military Marching Band, the Armed Forces Honor Guard, as well as marching bands and honor guards from Taipei First Girls’ High School and Taipei Jingmei Girls’ High School.
Political leaders from the pan-blue camp, including former KMT chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄), New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明) and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) are scheduled to attend the event.
Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) and Non-Partisan Solidarity Union Chairman Lin Pin-kuan (林炳坤) are not attending the ceremony.
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