Questions submitted by members of the public through an online platform for the presidential and vice presidential debates will be selected by drawing lots, Internet media outlet Watchout (沃草) said yesterday.
Watchout spokesman Lin Zu-yi (林祖儀) told a press conference in Taipei that only questions tendered on the platform — called “President, may I ask a question?” (總統，給問嗎?) — that have received at least 1,000 signatures from netizens will be considered for the draws.
“Since the platform was launched in October, it has received more than 4,000 questions that netizens want to ask the three pairs of presidential and vice presidential candidates competing in next month’s election,” Lin said, adding that 68 of the questions had met the 1,000-signature threshold as of yesterday.
Lin said that for the first and only vice presidential debate, which is scheduled to be held on Saturday, six out of 15 topics — including the economy, labor, finance, education, cross-strait ties, foreign affairs, healthcare and social welfare — are to be selected by drawing lots.
“For each topic, we will draw a question at random from a pool on Friday, so there will be six questions in total,” Lin said.
As for the second presidential debate planned for Jan. 2, one question will be drawn at random from each five out of the 15 subjects a day before, Lin said.
Questions posed by the public will only be asked in the two aforementioned televised debates, as the first presidential debate on Sunday will only take questions from media representatives.
The representatives of the three political parties participating in the debate welcomed the selection method.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Eric Chu’s (朱立倫) campaign spokesperson Hsu Chiao-hsin (徐巧芯) said the party welcomed such a fair and open question selection mechanism.
“Each question will be answered by all three candidates, which the KMT finds fair and supports 100 percent,” Hsu said.
Democratic Progressive Party Department of News and Information director Alex Huang (黃重諺) said there were many organizations aspiring to host the debates, but the online platform was the one that best fit the growing trend of openness in the nation’s public affairs.
“It allows people to directly participate in public affairs through the Internet, which is why it can best represent a diversity of public opinions,” Huang said.
People First Party Propaganda Department director Clarence Wu (吳崑玉) said the online platform has not only altered the manner in which the future head of state deals with the public, but can also bring about changes in the legislative mechanism for proposing bills.
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