Thu, Jul 18, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Independence leader pushes Tsai-Lai

By Lee Hsin-fang and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Taiwan New Constitution Foundation chairman Koo Kwang-ming attends an event in an undated file photograph.

Photo: Lee Hsin-fang, Taipei Times

Taiwan New Constitution Foundation founder Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) is determined to persuade President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and former premier William Lai (賴清德) to run on the same ticket in next year’s presidential election, a source close to the senior Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) member said.

Koo, a veteran Taiwanese independence advocate, has already scheduled a meeting with Lai and is expected to meet with Tsai, the source said, adding that “even a train might not be able to stop his determination” to get them to be running mates.

After winning the party’s nomination last month, Tsai visited Koo at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital, where he was recovering from surgery.

Koo, who had supported Lai in the primary, was reportedly touched by Tsai’s visit and thereafter decided to help unite the party.

Koo consulted several party members and grassroots supporters, and the general consensus was that a Tsai-Lai ticket would best benefit the party’s chances in January next year, the source said.

Koo believes that this election is crucial to Taiwan’s development and that people should set aside personal preferences so that the DPP could stay in power, they said.

Tsai and Lai complement each other, foundation executive director Lin Yi-cheng (林宜正) said, adding that Lai has a high approval rating among voters aged 50 and above, while Tsai is supported by many young voters.

Grassroots DPP supporters expect Tsai and Lai to run together, he said.

An unnamed DPP member said that Tsai and Lai need to think about how they are going to unite the party, adding that Lai would definitely play a role in the election, but the specifics would be up to them.

Right now, the DPP should try to get Tsai and Lai to run on the same ticket, the source close to Koo said, adding that Koo is also working to unify differing factions within the pro-independence camp.

As long as the DPP pushes a Tsai-Lai ticket, the other conflicts within the pro-independence camp “should be resolved,” they added.

After Tsai’s victory in the party’s presidential primary was announced, DPP Chairman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) said that a Tsai-Lai ticket was one of many ways the two could work together.

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