Sat, May 25, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Lai defends primary poll proposal

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Tseng Chun-jen, front row second left, borough warden of Siaosimen in Tainan’s West Central District, states his support for former premier William Lai’s presidential bid during a campaign event in Tainan yesterday with Lai supporters from Pingtung County.

Photo: Wang Chieh, Taipei Times

Former premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday said he had presented a new proposal for dealing with public surveys for the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) presidential primary, because it is a “winning strategy” that could forge party unity and pave the way to victory in next year’s presidential election.

Lai on Wednesday proposed a direct comparison of the results of surveys of him and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) against the leading candidate from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), namely Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜).

If Tsai wins in a public survey against Han or he loses in a public poll against Han, he would support Tsai as the DPP presidential candidate, Lai said.

However, if the survey shows that he could defeat Han and Han could win over Tsai, then he would ask Tsai to support him for the party nomination, Lai said.

“This way, we can maintain the party’s candidate selection mechanism and preserve its credibility in the public’s eyes,” he said.

It would also “ensure unity for our party, for it to go on to win next year’s election and safeguard Taiwan’s democracy,” Lai said.

The DPP’s primary process and mechanism have worked for many years, and “if we make changes and break the rules now, then it would be difficult to maintain the trust and support of society at large,” he added.

On the sidelines of a public event in Taipei later yesterday, Lai addressed public criticism and DPP members’ accusation that he was trying to scuttle the primary process and wrecking party unity.

“The setbacks I have encountered are opportunities for learning, which have strengthened my conviction to take on greater responsibility in the future. I hope people can see my determination,” he said.

“The party’s primary process must be maintained to have public credibility,” he said. “My winning strategy is very simple, if President Tsai could hold on and win, then I would support her. If I lack the ability to take up this responsibility, then I would also support President Tsai.”

“My proposal has been criticized by some quarters, but I am trying to resolve the problems that we have encountered in the primary process,” he said. “It is my conviction that we should strive for harmony and party unity to win in next year’s election.”

Lai’s office spokesman Lee Tuey-chih (李退之) rebutted some media reports that Lai conducted a “surprise raid” on DPP headquarters on Wednesday, saying Lai had a good dialogue with other party officials when he visited the Central Executive Committee meeting, where the new proposal was discussed.

“It was part of the mediation process, where key officials were present, with a dialogue held in good faith. It was Lai’s way of resolving the stalemate, to work together to finalize the primary process. It was for the DPP to nominate the strongest possible candidate, the one who can best safeguard Taiwan and our democracy,” Lee said.

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