Wed, Mar 20, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Lai says primary should focus on Taiwan’s values

GRASSROOTS APPROACH:The former premier said he would campaign for the DPP candidacy without an office, banners, billboards, trucks or local networks to boost rallies

By Wang Chieh, Liu Wan-chun and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Former premier William Lai, center, speaks to reporters after praying for good luck at Tiantan Tiangong Temple in Tainan yesterday.

Photo: Wang Chieh, Taipei Times

More is at stake in next year’s elections than personal, factional or partisan gains, former premier William Lai (賴清德) said yesterday of his decision to seek the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) nomination for the presidential election, adding that he is fighting for the nation’s democratic values.

Lai made the remark during a visit to Tainan’s Tiantan Tiangong Temple, where he was greeted by a crowd of supporters, some of whom called out: “Hello, president.”

He told reporters that the party’s presidential candidate must be chosen through a democratic process so it can be known whether more people support his ideals or those of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

Until Lai’s registration on Monday for the party’s presidential primary, the only contender for the DPP ticket was Tsai.

Lai said that he would campaign for the primary as he did for the Tainan mayoral election, during which he did not use a campaign office, propaganda banners, billboards or trucks, nor did he mobilize local networks to boost attendance at rallies.

The primary should focus on Taiwan’s democratic values and not a single person, faction or party, he said.

Asked about shows of support on social media for Tsai by Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊) and Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), Lai said that while he respects their opinions, his decision was made for the national interest, not for personal or factional gain.

The DPP needs to use the primary as a platform to show its supporters why it pushed certain policies, as well as its road map for the future, he said.

He said that he understands some party members’ concern about the negative effects of a contested primary, but it is what the DPP needs to deliberate and publicize its vision for the nation’s future.

Public employees who are also DPP members should not be pressured to take sides and the party’s local organizations should refrain from mobilizing their support, Lai said.

To connect with the public, the DPP has to show that it is not a party of the past and conduct its primary according to fair and democratic principles, he said.

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