President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday promised to facilitate reforms and to continue to promote cross-strait relations during his second term as he began a nationwide tour to thank his campaign staff for their dedication during the presidential election campaign.
Making the first stop of his “thanksgiving tour” in New Taipei City (新北市) yesterday morning, Ma, who beat Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in Saturday’s election by more than 700,000 votes, also pledged to improve his administration’s performance so that the public could see and feel the government’s efforts.
“The government has been working very hard to implement policies, but some people do not see or feel our efforts. It’s important to get things done, but it’s also crucial to make people understand what we are doing and to feel our efforts,” he said at his New Taipei City campaign headquarters.
Accompanied by vice president-elect Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), Ma bowed and thanked more than 1,000 campaign staff, saying that without obtaining about 240,000 more votes than Tsai in New Taipei City, his re-election bid would have been more challenging.
“When I won in my first presidential campaign in 2008, my platform was based on an eight-year term. I’ve reached the first goal of leading Taiwan on the right track and in the next four years I will facilitate the transformation of the country, especially the economy, so that we can achieve more greatness,” Ma said.
Of the more than 6.89 million votes Ma obtained in the presidential election, 1.24 million were from New Taipei City.
Chu, who was responsible for Ma’s campaign in the city, is seen as a likely successor to Ma in the next presidential election in 2016.
Chu remained low-key when asked to comment on his next step, reiterating that he would focus on his work as New Taipei City mayor.
Ma, who doubles as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman, also thanked party members for their unity during the campaign when presiding over the Central Standing Committee meeting at party headquarters.
He acknowledged that compared with the presidential election in 2008, in which he beat then-DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) by more than 2 million votes, this election victory had been a much tougher battle, urging the party to reflect on its performance.
“We lost a lot of votes in the election, while our opponents gained more support. This is a warning for us ... especially the executive branch, which should examine its policies and improve the parts that have failed to meet the public’s expectations,” Ma said.
Saturday’s victory in the presidential and legislative elections reflected the public’s approval of the course the KMT is taking, which aims to prioritize the needs of the public, while seeking what is in the national interest, Ma said, promising to continue to promote cross-strait ties and to enhance the nation’s participation in the international community.
“Only by reflecting on our performance can we make progress and ensure the party remains in power,” Ma said. “The public did not give us a blank check, but an authorization. They can take it back in four years if we fail to perform.”