The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) presidential primary is being conducted in a transparent manner, DPP spokesman Chou Chiang-chieh (周江杰) said yesterday, urging people to stop insinuating that some groups were secretly working to gather telephone numbers to influence the results of a public poll.
Party headquarters on Wednesday decided to give equal weighting to landline and cellphone surveys for the primary, and phone numbers would be selected on Thursday, Chou said.
Representatives from President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and former premier William Lai’s (賴清德) camps would be present to observe the selection procedure, he added.
Photo: Chen Chien-chih, Taipei Times
Tsai and Lai are competing in the primary.
“The procedure will conducted in a fair manner,” Chou said.
Lai’s supporters had accused Tsai’s of collecting telephone numbers to manipulate the poll.
Photo: Hsieh Chun-lin, Taipei Times
Tsai yesterday said that the telephone numbers would be randomly selected and that the selection mechanism cannot be influenced.
“All politicians, when organizing their campaigns, will communicate with their supporters,” Tsai said. “People should not link grassroots organization to the public survey and make insinuations about ‘cheating.’ Doing so is not the mark of a responsible politician.”
Lai expressed regret that Tsai used “strong words,” as he had insisted that both sides refrain from personal attacks during the primary.
“It seems President Tsai has launched a personal attack against me,” he said.
“I really wish for Tsai to understand what I talked about regarding this issue,” Lai said, adding that he was asked by reporters about Tsai’s camp allegedly gathering telephone numbers in connection with an oil workers’ union.
“I told reporters to check with DPP headquarters and to ask for an explanation from the party officials concerned,” he said.
“It was important to clarify public concerns, so people can trust the results of the primary,” Lai said. “I did not make other accusations and I hope Tsai can insist on a fair competition between the two sides all the way to the end.”
An audio recording has been circulating online in which former DPP secretary-general Hung Yao-fu (洪耀福) and one of Tsai’s top aides are allegedly heard instructing party workers to collect telephone numbers.
“We can link up all the forces in Taiwan who support Tsai, then we will develop new programs to communicate to people the activities of Tsai’s camp, through which various support groups can be set up,” news site Newtalk quoted Hung as saying in the recording.
The date of the recording could not be independently verified.
“We hope to have everyone’s cooperation, to bring together people who have been supporting President Tsai over the past few weeks... Suppose that the public survey is being conducted on a particular evening, then we will send text messages to all the supporters that they must stay by their telephones for the survey,” Hung was quoted as saying by the Web site.
DPP Taipei City Councilor Ruan Jhao-syong (阮昭雄), who is also Tsai’s spokesman for the primary, said he could not verify whether the voice in the recording belonged to Hung, as the background noise was too loud.
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