Thu, Jan 12, 2012 - Page 3 News List

2012 ELECTIONS: Tsai makes final push in Hakka areas

By Chris Wang  /  Staff Reporter

A scooter pillion passenger waves campaign flags for Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen while Tsai was campaigning in Miaoli and Hsinchu counties yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) campaigned yesterday in Miaoli and Hsinchu counties, hoping to make a last push in the Hakka-populated area before Saturday’s presidential election.

The DPP chairperson appealed for the support of Hakkas and hoped to win at least 45 percent of the votes in Miaoli County, a feat the DPP has never accomplished.

In an election that could be decided by as few as tens of thousands of votes, every vote counts for Tsai, particularly in the Hakka constituencies, which have traditionally been dominated by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

Tsai said Hakkas have long been known for solidarity, which was why she advocates a grand coalition government and the spirit of consociational democracy to unify Taiwanese.

Asked by media to provide a more detailed vision of her proposed grand coalition government, Tsai said she hoped the new Cabinet would focus on the economy, with job creation and industrial development as priorities.

She also expected the Cabinet to be able to integrate different opinions.

“Our options will be open. And I believe we will have many options available after the election,” she said.

Tsai visited Hsinchu in the afternoon and headed south for two nighttime rallies in the DPP strongholds of Pingtung County and Greater Kaohsiung.

She is scheduled to campaign in Taoyuan County, Greater Taichung and Changhua County today. The 4.03 million eligible voters in the three areas, which account for 22.3 percent of the total of 18.09 million eligible voters, are seen as crucial for Tsai’s bid to become Taiwan’s first female president.

In related news, the DPP responded yesterday in a press conference to President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) remarks on Tsai’s coalition plan, ridiculing her for talking of a grand coalition government and tolerance by saying that the DPP leader had turned down his invitation to meet several times in the past.

Sincerity and trustworthiness are important characteristics of a national leader, DPP spokesperson Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said, but Ma had failed to prove himself in that respect.

Citing the example of past meetings between Ma and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), who is now running in the presidential election as the third ticket, Chen said Ma did not respect Soong when he leaked details of the meetings to the press as a politically motivated maneuver.

The lack of respect for the opposition was why negotiations with Ma did not happen, Chen said.

Tsai would meet with Ma to discuss major issues that require interparty dialogue and she had planned to in the past over a civic meeting on national affairs and a proposed referendum on cross-strait negotiations, he said.

“Ma turned down Tsai’s requests both times,” he said.

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