Sat, Dec 29, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Independence supporters urge President Tsai Ing-wen not to run for second term

By Peng Wan-hsin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Taiwan Forever Association chairman Jerry Cheng speaks at a news conference held together with other pro-independence groups in Taipei on Thursday.

Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times

A coalition of pro-Taiwan independence groups on Thursday urged President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) not to run for president in 2020.

Taiwan Forever Association president Jerry Cheng (鄭文龍) said that Tsai has successfully turned the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) into a “Taiwanese Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)” and cut ties with independence supporters, including the Formosa Alliance — which has called for a referendum on formal independence and participation in the UN — and former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

“The DPP that valued freedom and democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and the spirit of ‘Taiwanese values’ is gone,” Cheng said.

The “deep green” camp, or independence supporters, commands at least 1 million votes, and should Tsai insist on running for re-election “the independence supporters will not vote for you,” he said.

Tsai does not represent the DPP, nor does the DPP represent Tsai, Taiwan Teachers’ Union chairperson Hsiao Hsiao-ling (蕭曉玲) said, saying that Tsai would not dare admit that she made the final call on the controversial appointment of Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) as National Taiwan University (NTU) president.

“Should the DPP continue its infighting, we will launch our own efforts,” Hsiao said.

Then-minister of education Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮) on Monday announced that the Ministry of Education had reluctantly approved Kuan’s appointment.

Premier William Lai (賴清德) the following day approved Yeh’s resignation.

The Presidential office has cited President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) as saying that the decision “caught everyone by surprise.”

However, the groups, citing reports that Lai was only informed by text message less than an hour before Yeh’s announcement, said they were not convinced that Yeh would have made the decision without Tsai’s consent.

Kuan was elected in January.

Although the ministry usually rubber stamps university presidents’ appointments, the ministry declined to approve Kuan’s appointment until Monday, citing flaws in the selection process and an undisclosed potential conflict of interest, as Kuan served as an independent director at Taiwan Mobile Co, while company vice chairman Richard Tsai (蔡明興) sat on the 21-member NTU presidential selection committee.

Additional reporting by CNA

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