Taiwan is showing the world that it is a sovereign nation where people have the right to vote for their president, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday after completing her registration to be a presidential candidate at the Central Election Commission office in Taipei.
She was accompanied by former premier William Lai (賴清德), who is her vice presidential candidate.
The registration made it official for them to represent the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the Jan. 11 presidential election.
“There are special significant meanings to this presidential race. First, it highlights that the Republic of China, Taiwan, is a free and sovereign nation, and that people have the right to vote, and the freedom to choose from among political parties and presidential candidates,” Tsai said when commenting on the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and interference by China.
“Second, Taiwan is a free nation full of diversity, and political parties are free to compete in elections. We want to emphasize these two important values for the world to understand that Taiwan is a democratic nation, with open competition for political parties, protection of human rights and people enjoying the freedom to vote,” she told reporters.
Tsai said it is clear that China has been interfering in the elections for quite a long time and that most Taiwanese are aware of this.
Asked about the passage of a Chinese aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday, Tsai said: “Most people agree that China’s meddling in our elections through different means has worked to destroy our democracy.”
The carrier’s passage came hours after Tsai named Lai as her running mate, which pundits perceived as China’s attempt to intimidate Lai, who supports Taiwanese independence.
“Through the past four years, we have laid down a solid foundation for Taiwan to become more secure and set up the fundamentals for economic development,” Tsai said.
“We have also diligently built up the social welfare net for people and have undertaken important national construction projects,” she added. “For these ongoing works, give us another four-year term so that we can make Taiwan better and stronger. We can improve people’s lives and make the nation more secure.”
Lai said now that he and Tsai have officially entered the race, “we will present platforms for social welfare programs and policies to improve economic prosperity. We will visit to city and every district to gather support from the people.”
The goal is for the Tsai-Lai ticket to win the presidential election, and for the DPP to gain a majority in the legislature “for Tsai to have more strength to safeguard Taiwan, defend our democracy and better deal with the changing situation at home and abroad,” Lai said.
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