No date has been set for President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and former premier William Lai (賴清德) to meet to discuss next year’s presidential election, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) said on Saturday.
However, a party team has held separate discussions with the president and Lai, he said.
The party formed a team made up of Cho, Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊), Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) and Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) after Lai registered on March 18 to compete in the DPP presidential primary and Tsai did the same a few days later in a bid to find common ground between the pair.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
Speaking at book signing in Tainan on Saturday, former Tainan mayor Lai said he had met with the mediation team and explained that he was making a bid for the DPP candidacy because of what he feels is the party’s precarious position following its heavy losses in the Nov. 24 elections last year.
Many of the party’s grassroots supporters are worried not only that the party might lose the presidency and its legislative majority, but that the nation’s sovereignty and democracy would face unprecedented challenges, he said.
Even more worrying was the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) proposal to sign a peace accord with China if it wins the presidency, which has caused public concern about Taiwan’s future, he said.
Tsai on Saturday told a Taipei event organized by the Formosan Association for Public Affairs that she would seek re-election because she wanted to see the realization of her reforms.
She was willing to take the pressure from naysayers rather than backtrack on her policies, she said.
“I’m not afraid to get injured, but Taiwan’s sovereignty cannot be injured,” she added.
History has shown that solidarity can help secure victory, and there has never been an exception to that approach, she said.
If the mediation team fails settle the issue through negotiations by April 12, the party plans to hold an opinion survey-based primary.
Tsai and Lai would present their views to the public on April 13 and 14, and the surveys would be conducted over the following three days.
The DPP is expected to announce its candidate for the presidential election on April 24.
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