President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday called on former premier William Lai (賴清德) to stop his supporters from launching attacks and prove himself a trustworthy politician, as competition between the two Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members continued to escalate as they seek the DPP nomination for next year’s presidential election.
Tsai made the remarks while visiting the Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區) to celebrate the nation’s progress in space development, when asked by reporters to comment on Lai’s remarks on Saturday about her so-called “cyberarmy.”
As the second premier in Tsai’s administration from Sept. 8, 2017 to Jan. 14, Lai had voiced his support for Tsai to seek re-election, so when he registered for the party’s presidential primary on March 18, many people were caught off guard.
The DPP Central Standing Committee on Wednesday decided to postpone its opinion polls on candidates’ support rates from this month until the party’s legislative primary ends on May 22, sparking criticism that the change is designed to help Tsai, who has trailed Lai in such polls.
No DPP members had inquired about his intention to join the primary before a March 16 legislative by-election, Lai said on Saturday on the sidelines of an event in Tainan, adding that Tsai should stop her cyberarmy from attacking him.
“The number of people attacking me is much more than those criticizing him,” Tsai said yesterday.
If Lai took a closer look at the offensive messages, he would find himself acquainted with those attacking her, to a certain degree, Tsai said, as she urged Lai to restrain his supporters.
Many netizens express their support of her, but they are not a so-called “cyberarmy” paid to launch attacks, she said.
Asked if she would support Lai if he wins the primary, Tsai said that she is a DPP member as well as the president, and as president, there are some things she can do and some things she cannot.
“If Lai hopes to win support, he must prove himself to be supportable and trustworthy,” she said, reminding Lai that “honesty is the basic requirement for any politician serving as a national leader.”
Many Taiwanese firms that were operating in foreign countries have decided to return home, bringing in investments worth nearly NT$120 billion (US$3.9 billion), Tsai said, adding that foreign businesses are continuing to invest in Taiwan.
These phenomena reflect a confidence in Taiwan, and that the government’s policy is correct, she added.
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