Fri, Apr 26, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Lai urges DPP to begin primary talks

TAKING A STAND:The former premier dismissed any intention to run as vice president and said people should think of the election as a battle against Chinese annexation

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Former premier William Lai speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

Former premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday urged the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to begin discussing its presidential primary and called for an “anti-annexation law” against China.

Lai said that when meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), “there was no discussion on how to conduct a primary, only requests that I quit.”

“That is not the approach the DPP should take,” he added.

If the party convenes a second meeting with him and Tsai, he hopes they will begin talking about a primary, Lai said.

He made the remarks at an event to oppose China’s annexation of Taiwan organized by a coalition of pro-independence groups in Taipei.

While the groups had invited primary candidates from all parties to share their view on countering the Chinese threat, only Lai attended, Taiwan Society chairman Chang Yeh-sen (張葉森) said.

Wu Hsiang-hui (吳祥輝), a political pundit, said he not only opposes China annexing Taiwan, but also opposes “President Tsai Ing-wen annexing Lai.”

Lai said that Tsai has so far not said she would support him if he won the primary, but has instead been making suggestions that someone should be running as a vice president,

“That is against the spirit of democracy,” Lai said, adding that a vice president should be determined after the primary.

“Emphasizing how someone should be a vice president during a primary is an election strategy not worth pursuing,” he said.

Since he has registered for the primary, he hopes to follow it through, Lai said.

As a democratic party, the DPP should adhere to its democratic procedures and allow primary candidates the opportunity to promote their platforms and lobby for support, he said.

“As a pragmatic political worker for Taiwanese independence, my national strategy is to promote stability in the nation and peace abroad,” he said.

To counter the Chinese Communist Party’s influence, the government should ensure the safety and sovereignty of Taiwan through increased collaboration with the US and other countries, he said.

It should also promote an anti-annexation law or anti-infiltration law, he said.

He urged people to think of the presidential and legislative elections next year as “a fight against China’s annexation and “one country, two systems” proposal, as well as a fight to ensure Taiwan’s sovereignty, human rights, and democratic and free way of life,” he said.

It would also be an opportunity to oppose a peace treaty with China, he said, adding that Beijing’s peace treaty with Tibet led to the exile of the Dalai Lama and the loss of many lives.

The experiences of Hong Kong and Tibet indicate that “the only path to happiness for Taiwan is independence and autonomy,” he said.

At a separate event in Taipei, Tsai told reporters that supporters would like to see Lai run as her vice president next year.

“One plus one is definitely bigger than two, and that is what our supporters hope to see,” she said.

Asked if she would like to meet with Lai soon, Tsai said she respects the party’s arrangements.

Asked about a rumor that the primary would be canceled due to pressure from her, the president said: “It is indeed a rumor — and a very malicious one.”

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