President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday downplayed comments he made praising women’s ability to lead, which was seen as a compliment to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who is challenging Ma’s re-election bid, saying that being a woman was not enough to be a national leader, adding that courage and integrity were needed as well.
Speaking during a campaign trip in Changhua County at a rice promotion activity at Union Rice Co, a major rice producer in the area, Ma lauded the company’s female chairperson as a capable leader for her promotion of the traditional staple.
“It’s more helpful and beneficial to have women in charge,” he said.
Ma’s comments drew press queries as to whether the compliment applied to Tsai, who has been running a campaign slogan emphasizing her potential to be the nation’s first female president.
The president later clarified his remarks as a compliment to the company’s female chairperson. To be a great national leader requires the ability to address major issues such as cross-strait relations and global financial turmoil, he said.
“A national leader should be courageous and experienced. Most importantly, he or she should have integrity, be able to avoid conflicts of interest and face confrontation,” he said.
With the presidential and legislative elections less than a week away, King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), executive director of Ma’s re--election campaign, yesterday expressed confidence that Ma would win the presidential election, saying the team would take cautious measures during the final stage of the campaign.
“The Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] has held a steady lead throughout the campaign, and we will try to minimize mistakes to secure victory,” he said when campaigning for KMT legislative candidate Rosa Chien (錢薇娟) in New Taipei City (新北市).
King declined to comment on whether the KMT would ask pan-blue voters to abandon People First Party presidential candidate James Soong (宋楚瑜), who is the party’s chairman, and throw their support behind Ma to prevent a split in the pan-blue vote.