The “Defend Democracy Safeguard Taiwan Alliance” (守民主護台灣大聯盟) was launched yesterday by several prominent people in the Taiwan independence movement to consolidate deep-green camp support for President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) re-election campaign.
More than 30 political and civil organizations have joined the alliance, which is being financed by tycoon and Taiwan New Constitution Foundation founder Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏), a longtime Taiwan independence supporter, along with Taiwan Friends Association director Huang Kun-hu (黃崑虎).
A number of top Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members have joined the alliance, while representatives of the Taiwan Solidarity Union, the Taiwan Statebuilding Party, the Social Democratic Party, the Green Party and the Taiwan Society were among those attending the event to show their support.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
“Tsai is the first woman president in Taiwan’s history. We must support her for re-election… although we cannot afford to be lax, she will surely win, and we are confident of her victory,” Koo told the gathering, in a very public change of heart for a man who previously opposed women in leadership positions.
During the DPP presidential primary campaign in 2006, Koo said that “people who wear skirts are not fit to be the nation’s commander-in-chief,” in reference to then-vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮).
He later said that he had meant to raise the question of whether Taiwan had progressed to the level where a woman could become president.
However, in 2008, when he ran against Tsai for DPP chair, he said “the future of the DPP should not be entrusted to an unmarried girl.”
Koo said a conversation with Tsai shortly after she won the presidency in 2016 had helped change his mind, when “she told me one of the most important jobs her government will undertake is for Taiwan to return as a member of the United Nations.”
The nonagenarian criticized Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) candidate, as the most loathsome and most shameful presidential candidate ever nominated by the KMT.
Han’s candidacy is only being buoyed by the unending issuing of feel-good news by pro-China media outlets.
“Why would people support Han? We have heard many policies espoused by Han, but it was just his mouth talking. He does not have the ability nor the experience to do things. We must not vote for this man to become our president,” Koo said.
In her address to the gathering, Tsai thanked those who had joined the alliance and promised to stump for her.
“Even though on some issues, we have differing viewpoints, but on defending democracy and safeguard Taiwan’s sovereignty, we are resolutely united to stand together. This is what China worries the most,” she said.
“China has been making military threats, and engaging in propaganda and disinformation campaigns against us. However, China is most afraid of the firm unity of the Taiwanese. Joining together at this crucial time, we have the power to fight back against China,” she added.
Some smaller parties in the pan-green camp were notable by their absence from yesterday’s gathering, including the Taiwan Action Party Alliance, the Free Taiwan Party, the Formosa Alliance and the Taiwan National Party.
Tsai yesterday also attended events for DPP legislative candidates in Changhua County and a large rally by women’s groups in New Taipei City.
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