2012 ELECTIONS: Tsai declares 2012 to be ‘special year’

NEW YEAR CHEER::Tsai said harmony would be a key theme for her administration and its policies, as her ‘Taiwan consensus’ did not rule out any possibilities

By Chris Wang  /  Staff Reporter

Sun, Jan 01, 2012 - Page 3

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) bid farewell to 2011 yesterday, saying she would make Taiwan a better country through justice and fairness if she were elected president on Jan. 14.

“Next year will be a special year, because we are going to have a female president — a president who knows how to face the tasks at hand and solve them, who can eliminate unfairness and injustice in society,” she said at a rally in Tucheng District (土城), New Taipei City (新北市).

“Are you ready?” she asked more than 10,000 flag-waving supporters who braved the cold and rain — temperatures as low as 14oC — and collectively responded “Yes!”

The DPP chairperson had a hectic schedule on the last day of the year, campaigning in New Taipei City’s Sindian District (新店) and Tucheng in northern Taiwan, before heading south to Greater Kaohsiung and Greater Tainan.

New Year’s Eve marked the two-week countdown to Election Day as well as the end of an unhappy year, during which Taiwanese had been plagued by a high unemployment rate, slow economy and government inefficiency, Tsai said.

“I shook hands with many of you just now. Most of those hands were cold because you have been here for so long, but I know your hearts are warm and yearning for change. Your voices are heard,” she said.

Her administration would fulfill people’s humble wishes — to have a quality job and an apartment, raise children and take care of their parents — obligations for any government, but have been ignored by the current administration, she said.

Tsai told supporters of her plans to establish a long-term social care system and implement a 12-year compulsory education as well as an employment-driven economy, which highlights developing local markets and accelerated integration with the global community.

“We have a complete set of policies to eliminate the gap between the rich and the poor, the gap between urban and rural areas, and imbalanced regional development,” she said.

Harmony would be the central theme of her administration in both domestic and external issues, Tsai said, as her initiative of a “Taiwan consensus” does not rule out any option, including unification with China, which has been advocated by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), she added

“Rest assured, there is one thing we will definitely do, which is to improve government efficiency. And we will not capitalize the state apparatus and exploit it as a campaign tool to oppress political opponents,” Tsai said, referring to a report that alleged monitoring activities on her campaign by intelligence authorities.

Tsai said she has high hopes for New Taipei City, the nation’s largest electoral district, which has more than 3 million voters and where she lost by 5.3 percent, or about 110,000 votes, in a mayoral election last year, adding that she felt that “the tide is turning.”

Tsai then traveled south for night rallies in Kaohsiung and Tainan, where she was to attend a New Year countdown party and spend the night before attending a flag-raising ceremony this morning.