Sat, Jun 15, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Tsai hopeful of DPP unity after tense primary

Staff writer, with CNA

President Tsai Ing-wen, front center, accompanied by Democratic Progressive Party legislators Yu Tian, front second right, and Lo Chih-cheng, front right, do the thumbs-up sign with supporters at Yi Tian Temple in New Taipei City’s Sanchong District yesterday.

Photo: Chou Hsiang-yun, Taipei Times

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday expressed optimism that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) would be united again following its presidential primary, despite concerns that the party’s Taiwanese independence supporters might not back her.

“After the results of primary polls were released on Thursday, the DPP issued a statement expressing hope that the party can be united and integrated,” Tsai said on the sidelines of a ceremony in Taipei to recognize the work of police officers ahead of Police Day today.

Tsai said that the DPP’s next mission of party integration would be completed smoothly, “because we all know that only with solidarity do we stand a chance of winning the 2020 election.”

Tsai was responding to media queries on whether she was concerned about not being able to garner support from the DPP’s pro-independence faction, which rooted for former premier William Lai (賴清德) during the primary, especially after former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) questioned the validity of the party’s primary polls.

Chen was referring to the wide lead obtained by Tsai in the polls, in which she beat Lai by 8.2 percentage points, Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) by 11 percentage points and independent Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) by 13 percentage points.

Chen, released from jail on medical parole, also pointed to the narrow polling discrepancies between the five polls for the four potential candidates, which were all within about 2 percentage points, as further evidence that the poll results were not reliable.

According to the polls, which combined 16,051 valid samples from Monday to Wednesday, Tsai’s support rates ranged from 34.5 percent to 36.5 percent when compared with Han and Ko, who received support rates of between 23.2 percent and 25.6 percent and between 21.6 percent and 23.8 percent respectively.

When compared with Ko (26.2 percent to 28.3 percent) and Han (22.5 percent to 24.7 percent), Lai’s support rates stood at 26.6 percent to 28.4 percent.

Addressing Chen’s concerns, DPP secretary-general Luo Wen-jia (羅文嘉) said experts assigned by Tsai’s and Lai’s camps were invited to participate in all key polling procedures, including sampling, interviews and data processing.

With only half a year to go before the presidential and legislative elections in January, the DPP still has two giant mountains to climb: voters who do not support the DPP and voters who are loyal to Lai, Luo said.

Asked whether a Tsai-Lai ticket is likely, DPP Chairman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) said the party has yet to discuss the issue.

The DPP’s immediate priorities would be for him to arrange a meeting between Lai and Tsai and for the party to think about its legislative nominations and legislators at-large list, he said.

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