Sat, Apr 27, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Choosing VP candidate bad optics: Lai

LOSING FAITH:Abandoning democratic principles for oligarchic methods would not garner support, and would harm the party and the nation, William Lai said

By Su Fun-her and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Former premier William Lai, left, yesterday in Tainan introduces mango-flavored Cheng Gong Potato Chips, exclusively sold in the city, to Stephen Yates, who served as deputy national security adviser to former US vice president Dick Cheney.

Photo: CNA

Determining a presidential and vice presidential candidate while the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) primary has yet to be completed would be premature and bad optics, former premier William Lai (賴清德) said yesterday.

Lai has registered as a candidate for the party’s primary to challenge President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). The party headquarters has created a team of five arbitrators “to find common ground between the two.”

Holding a primary is a democratic process and not simply a matter of winning or losing, Lai said, adding that it allows people concerned about the nation to determine who should represent the party.

Should the party dispense with the primary and turn toward an oligarchic system, it would not win the public’s support, Lai said.

The party’s democratic system is well-established and a vice presidential candidate should only be determined after a presidential candidate is decided, Lai said.

Any attempts otherwise would only convey a sense of party members squabbling for power or attempting to do away with certain candidates by underhanded means, Lai said.

“This could cause the Taiwanese public to lose faith in democracy,” Lai said.

Regarding political pundit Brian Wu (吳祥輝) on Thursday calling Tsai “a political harlot” who had “sold out the party’s nominee,” Lai said that it was not his place to tell others what or what not to say.

However, he said that he has pledged to conduct a fair and open campaign and that he would not slander Tsai, expressing the hope that his and Tsai’s supporters would not slander each other either.

“In this manner, we can take Taiwan’s democratic spirit one step further,” he said. “No one should force any nominee to shoulder the inappropriate remarks of others.”

The DPP made its way from opposition to the government because people believe in democracy, Lai said, adding that abandoning the mission of upholding and promoting democracy for the sake of securing the party’s nomination would bode ill for the party and nation.

Regarding cross-strait relations, Lai said that he defines the presidential election as: “Protect sovereignty, oppose annexation.”

His main platform would be against a peace deal with China, as well as “fake peace,” the so-called “1992 consensus,” the “one China” principle and the “one country, two systems” framework, Lai said.

In response to Lai’s complaint that the DPP’s team of arbitrators has been trying to talk him out of running, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), a member of the team, yesterday denied having done so.

Su called on all presidential hopefuls to keep a rein on their temper, saying that he was certain that the party would arrive at a decision that would appeal to all sides.

The “1992 consensus” — a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted making up in 2000 — refers to a tacit understanding between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party that both sides acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.

Additional reporting by Chan Shih-hung

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