Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is looking forward to arguably the most important weekend of her presidential campaign ahead of the following weekend’s election.
The DPP chairperson is scheduled to wrap up the last of three televised debates tonight, trying to leave a lasting impression with voters that she would be a better choice and is more prepared than her rivals — President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜).
Tsai is expected to “get back to basics” in the debate, which means she is expected to talk about her social policies, rather than making attacks over scandals, Tsai’s senior aide Lin Teh-hsun (林德訓) said.
“That is the real Tsai Ing-wen. She doesn’t like surprise and she doesn’t like to surprise people. She is always pragmatic,” Lin said.
Tsai will try to boost her supporters’ morale and consolidate their support during her “Super Weekend,” with six large rallies planned in Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung tomorrow and in Changhua County’s Yuanlin (員林), Greater Taichung, New Taipei City and Taipei on Sunday.
The presidential candidate is scheduled to attend the rallies, which cover almost all the important constituencies on the west coast, within a span of about 30 hours.
Tsai, who began her final round-the-country trip two weeks before polling day, yesterday went canvassing on a jeep in Taipei, traditionally one of the DPP’s weakest constituencies, in the rain and with temperatures hovering at about 10oC, after meeting a group of supporters in the morning.
“Every vote counts in a closely contested election like this,” Tsai told hundreds of overseas Taiwanese supporters, including her sister, Tsai Ying-ju (蔡瀛如), who has returned from the US to vote, at her campaign headquarters in Banciao District (板橋), New Taipei City (新北市).
Tsai expressed gratitude to her overseas supporters who have returned from places such as the US, Canada, Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and South Africa, saying that not only did their votes matter, but she also hoped they could “make a final push” for more votes before Jan. 14.
However, the number of overseas Taiwanese returning to vote this year is the lowest since 1996, when Taiwanese were allowed to vote for a president for the first time, according to the data released by the Central Election Commission yesterday.
Tsai was scheduled to attend rallies in Hsinchu City and Jhubei (竹北), Hsinchu County, last night.