JAN. 11 ELECTIONS: PFP mulled asking Ko to lead party, join race: Soong | People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) yesterday said that the party last year considered asking Taipei Mayor Ko W

JAN. 11 ELECTIONS: PFP mulled asking Ko to lead party, join race: Soong

JAN. 11 ELECTIONS: PFP mulled asking Ko to lead party, join race: Soong

JAN. 11 ELECTIONS: PFP mulled asking Ko to lead party, join race: Soong

JAN. 11 ELECTIONS: PFP mulled asking Ko to lead party, join race: Soong

JAN. 11 ELECTIONS: PFP mulled asking Ko to lead party, join race: Soong

JAN. 11 ELECTIONS: PFP mulled asking Ko to lead party, join race: Soong
JAN. 11 ELECTIONS: PFP mulled asking Ko to lead party, join race: Soong
  • By: taipeitimes.com
  • Views 8,791

People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) yesterday said that the party last year considered asking Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) to lead it and become its presidential candidate in the Jan. 11 elections, adding that he did not know Ko would eventually establish a party himself.

“I had no idea that he would form a new party in August, which is not a good strategy,” Soong said, referring to Ko’s founding of the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP).

Soong revealed details of his interactions with Ko in an interview with political commentator Clara Chou (周玉蔻) in her morning radio talk show.

The PFP had been favoring Ko since before he was elected as mayor in 2012, Soong said.

“Last year, we started talking about our plans for the presidential election. At the time, I felt I needed to gradually phase out from the political scene in Taiwan. We then began to consider others to whom we could pass the torch of party chief and who could represent us in the presidential election. We eventually decided that if Ko wanted to form a partnership with us, he would be the party’s presidential candidate and we would recommend that Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) serve as his running mate,” Soong said.

Ko has never explicitly said that he was seeking the PFP’s nomination, Soong said.

When the two finally agreed to meet on May 1, Ko only asked when the PFP would announce its presidential and vice-presidential candidates, Soong said, adding that Ko did not ask him whether he would be running nor did he say that he would run himself.

As some have compared Soong to an Olympic athlete, as he has been running in presidential elections for 20 years, he said that he is running once again because people are looking for change, adding that people should not forget that he has made crucial contributions that helped Taiwan become a democratic nation.

On the party’s support for Hon Hai Precision Industry Co founder Terry Gou’s (郭台銘) now-dropped presidential bid, Soong said that what Taiwan needs are elites who know how to govern and have a thorough grasp of future trends in technology and the economy.

“What people are looking for is a capable leader who can implement policies, not a boxer beating the air,” he said, adding that people are “sick and tired” of having to choose between two equally bad political parties, referring to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

People would be underestimating the PFP if they think that the only reason that he is running this time is because the party has to secure seats in the Legislative Yuan, Soong said.

Taiwan has become an increasingly diverse society and voices of small parties should be heard, he said, adding that the party’s competitors are the DPP and KMT, not the TPP.

As for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and how they might affect cross-strait relations, Soong said the key to cross-strait relations lies in communication, rather than confrontation.

He is the better communicator when compared with the two other presidential candidates, Soong said.

As the PFP is to announce its list of legislator-at-large nominees today, Soong said that the nominees would be chosen in a transparent manner.

They should either be advocates of issues concerning socially disadvantaged people or work as professionals in technology or other disciplines, he said.

JAN. 11 ELECTIONS: TPP unveils legislator-at-large list with 29 names

JAN. 11 ELECTIONS: TPP unveils legislator-at-large list with 29 names

The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) yesterday announced its legislator-at-large nominees for the Jan. 11 elections, with Taipei Department of Labor Commissioner Lai Hsiang-lin (賴香伶) topping the 29-person list.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), the TPP chairman, said that the average age of the nominees is 41.4 years, which is 25 years younger than that of another party, and that he is proud that many nominees were selected via an open audition.

It was not clear which political party Ko was referring to.

“We are recruiting talented people from the public. We do not care if the applying individual is rich or not, and we do not need them to donate NT$80 million [US$2.62 million] to guarantee them a ‘safe’ seat on the list,” he said, adding that the party recruited people based only on their talent and would pay the NT$200,000 registration fee for them.

The public’s wisdom can surpass an individual’s wisdom, so it conducted an open audition to choose at-large nominees for the first time in the nation’s political history, the TPP said.

“We hold the ideal of ‘open government, public participation, openness and transparency,’ and we are unfolding a ‘silent revolution’ stressing the importance of ‘national governance,’” it said.

Other female nominees include Hon Hai Technology Group Industrial Big Data Office vice president Ann Kao (高虹安) at No. 3, Ko’s close aide and Taipei City Government adviser Tsai Pi-ju (蔡壁如) at No. 5, Shin Kong Life Insurance Co deputy chief executive Cynthia Wu (吳欣盈) at No. 7, and Taipei City Government deputy spokeswoman Huang Ching-ying, who gained popularity among young people online, at No. 13.

TPP Secretary-General Chang Jer-yang (張哲揚) said 17 nominees were selected through an open audition, and 15 people on the list are under 40.

National Sun Yat-sen University College of Social Science dean Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿), who was selected through an open audition, is No. 2.

When asked why the party nominated only 29 people, despite Ko repeatedly saying that it would nominate a full list of 34 candidates, Chang said there were other nominees, but his aides suggested dropping five of them to save NT$1 million in registration fees.

He was also asked about a rumor that some TPP members were unsatisfied with placing Kao, who is considered Hon Hai Precision Industry founder Terry Gou’s (郭台銘) aide, in a safe seat, as Gou’s aides were rumored to be also in safe seats on the People First Party’s (PFP) nominee list.

Ko said the PFP has not announced its list yet, and Gou had asked whether he wanted to switch the places of Kao with Tsai on the TPP’s list, but he thinks Kao has professional skills in big data and technology, and that having more professionals than politicians would be more beneficial for Taiwan.

Asked about PFP Chairman James Soong’s (宋楚瑜) remark yesterday that he had wanted to cooperate with Ko in the presidential election before Ko founded his own party, Ko confirmed that Soong had talked to him about the idea, but he only “listened and laughed,” because Soong did not give him a detailed proposal.

JAN. 11 ELECTIONS: Poll is for voters to side with democracy: Luo

JAN. 11 ELECTIONS: Poll is for voters to side with democracy: Luo

The Jan. 11 elections are for voters to side with democracy and choose parties that protect the nation instead of those that take China’s side, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary-General Luo Wen-Jia (羅文嘉) said yesterday, pointing to anti-government protests in Hong Kong.

“Taiwanese have emotional feelings about what is happening in Hong Kong... The situation there could be better if the Hong Kong Legislative Council had a majority of democratic parties, then it [the territory’s government] could not do as it pleases,” Luo said at the launch of a campaign video at the DPP headquarters.

“Taiwanese should cherish our democratic system, with government by majority rule,” he said. “However, as we face intimidation from China, it is likely that our legislature will be comprised of many political parties after the election.”

“However, there are only two large party blocs in the legislature. One aims to safeguard Taiwan, while the other is pro-China. The two paths are totally different and there is no ambiguity between them,” he added.

The DPP is spearheading the movement to protect and defend Taiwan’s democracy, which is a different path from the other bloc, Luo said, urging people to vote the parties that safeguard Taiwan into a majority at the Legislative Yuan.

“We must unite together and consolidate the votes to bolster the legislative seats for parties that uphold progress and democracy,” he said.

The campaign video is centered around a “legislative seat,” in which people take turns sitting and voice their support in different cities.

It begins with three young people saying: “Do not be afraid, Taiwan will not become Hong Kong,” and a young woman saying: “Do not believe China. Please believe in democracy.”

At the end, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) says: “Please use your ballot to say ‘no’ to [China’s] ‘one country, two systems’ principle.”

Luo criticized the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) for placing retired army general Wu Sz-huai (吳斯懷) in the No. 4 spot in its list of legislator-at-large nominees.

Wu is known for his pro-China and pro-unification stance, and has participated in China’s national day celebrations in Beijing.

“For most of the KMT’s history, its most important support came from people and groups defending the existence of the Republic of China [ROC]. Now with Wu placed near the top on the nominee list, the KMT is trampling the ROC under the feet of the People’s Republic of China [PRC]. It has abandoned the ROC,” Luo said.

“In the past, the ROC and PRC were adversaries, but with equal political standing. Now the KMT has gotten rid of the ROC, now there is only the PRC,” Luo added.

“Wu has visited China and sat among the audience to hear a speech by [Chinese President] Xi Jinping (習近平). He served as consultant for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. These are the facts and not mere labels imposed by others,” Luo said.

Many people have lost faith in the KMT, “because the KMT has been transforming into the Chinese Communist Party. This is not the original KMT, it has caused its supporters, who were defenders of the ROC, to have misgivings and despair.”

JAN. 11 ELECTIONS: Vote show of sovereignty: Tsai

JAN. 11 ELECTIONS: Vote show of sovereignty: Tsai

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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