President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) embarked on a home-stay campaign tour to boost his re-election momentum in areas considered traditional strongholds of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), seeking to replicate the successful campaign model that helped him win the presidential election in 2008.
Ma began a home-stay trip in Greater Taichung yesterday, spending a night at the house of local farmer Chiang Wen-sheng (江文盛) in Fongyuan District (豐原). He is to visit Greater Kaohsiung tomorrow and stay at the National University of Kaohsiung tomorrow night.
Presidential Office spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi (范姜泰基) said Ma discussed agricultural issues during his stay at Chiang’s house, and he that he would use his stay at the university dorm tomorrow to communicate with college students.
“President Ma’s two stays this weekend will mark the 99th and 100th home-stays since the start of the 2008 presidential election campaign, and this is a milestone for the president because his goal was to stay at 100 homes to understand local issues,” he said.
Chiang is the uncle of former Government Information Office director Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) and brother of former National -Security Council deputy secretary-general Antonio Chiang (江春男).
Fan Chiang declined to comment on whether Ma attempted to solicit support from pan-green members home, and said the president came to listen to farmers and understand their concerns.
The home-stay program was launched in 2007 when Ma was seeking the presidency. The nationwide tour, in which he stayed with local residents in each city and county for three to five days a week, was part of his campaign to build a rapport with voters in DPP strongholds.
It was believed to have brought him closer to the public and to have played a key role in his victory in the election.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday said Ma’s home-stay visits would be irregular because of his tight schedule.