Wed, Nov 16, 2011 - Page 3 News List

2012 ELECTIONS: Ma’s campaign to focus on economy, King tells reporters

AFP and BLOOMBERG, TAIPEI, with Staff Writer

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will focus on a robust economy as his main campaign theme to secure enough votes for the presidential election just two months away, his campaign chief told foreign correspondents yesterday.

Faced with a narrow lead over his main challenger, Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Ma will seek to drive home the message that times have got better under his leadership, said King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), chief executive of Ma’s re-election campaign and who is widely regarded to be the president’s most trusted aide.

“In the less than two months to the vote, we’ll center our appeal on the economic issues,” King told the Taiwan Foreign Correspondents Club.

“We’ll let the voters understand that over the past more than three years the Ma administration has done more than the former government ever did. We’ll try to tell them how they’ll benefit if Ma gets re-elected,” he said.

Recent polls have shown that Ma’s lead over Tsai has narrowed considerably in recent weeks.

A survey released on Friday by the Taipei-based TVBS Poll Center found Ma leads with 39 percent to Tsai’s 38 percent, down from 38 percent compared with 35 percent a week earlier. The poll had a margin of error of 2.7 percentage points.

“All statistics indicate that Taiwan’s economy is moving in a positive direction. A pity, however, that this trend has been ignored by the media and the people,” King said.

Taiwan’s economy grew by 3.37 percent in the three months to September after expanding 10.88 percent last year following a substantial drop during the global economic recession.

King also said that Ma would not engage in unification or independence talks with China if he wins in January.

King reiterated Ma’s policy of “no unification, no independence and no use of force,” even as he seeks closer ties with China.

“If Tsai wins, there will be uncertainties in cross-straits relations,” King said. “The risk factor will rise and investors could withdraw.”

Better ties with China have helped Taiwan’s relations with other countries, King said.

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