Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday established an office in Guanxi Township (關西), Hsinchu County, as part of her effort to deepen her connection with the predominantly Hakka constituencies in northwestern Taiwan.
“The office was established with the aim of learning from the Hakka culture, exploring local people’s needs, as well as avoiding the so-called ‘Taipei perspective’ so we can consolidate the power of the Hakka people and bolster Taiwan’s future,” Tsai, a Hakka, said in the opening ceremony, according to a press release issued by her Taipei office.
Guanxi was selected as the location for the office because it is roughly in the center of the four Hakka constituencies of Hsinchu City and Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli counties.
Speaking in the Hakka language, Tsai said there would be permanent staff and policy researchers in the office to work with the local community to develop talent and industry.
Meanwhile Tsai, who is believed to be interested in running for president in 2016, has not spoken about elections, appeared to reflect her intention ahead of the election to work on what was the weakest part of her previous campaign in the presidential election last year.
The DPP’s strategy to market Tsai as the first Hakka president and the first female president did not succeed.
Tsai’s shares of the vote in the Hakka constituencies were considerably lower than her national share of 45.6 percent: She polled 39.5 percent in Hsinchu City, 30.9 percent in Hsinchu County, 39.9 percent in Taoyuan County and 33.2 percent in Miaoli County.
Overall, Tsai lost to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) by 436,000 votes in the four predominantly Hakka constituencies, more than half of the final 800,000 vote margin, or about six percent of the total votes.