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Tsai steps down as DPP chair after election defeat (update)

2012/01/14 22:33:01

Taipei, Jan. 14 (CNA) Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen announced her resignation from the party's chairmanship after conceding defeat in the presidential election Saturday.

Tsai upheld the DPP tradition of the party chairperson resigning after a presidential election loss.

"We admitted defeat in the presidential election and accepted the decision of the people of Taiwan," the 55-year-old told an international press conference at her campaign headquarters in New Taipei City.

Her remarks came hours after President Ma Ying-jeou of the ruling Kuomintang claimed victory.

"I will shoulder the responsibility for the loss in the election on my own. I therefore announce here that I'm resigning from the Democratic Progressive Party's chairperson post," Tsai said.

"I'd also like to express my sincere apology to my supporters for failing their expectations."

Telling her supporters not to be discouraged and disheartened, she vowed that the DPP's next leader would absolutely insist on transforming the party and lead everyone to move forward.

"The DPP will rise again," she said.

Acknowledging there were many factors that caused her failure, she said that challenging the incumbent government is essentially hard, and noted that the party's support in northern Taiwan is still not strong enough.

The party will conduct and then announce a thorough and comprehensive review of the party's loss, including Taiwan-China policies, according to Tsai.

When asked about her plan for the 2016 election, Tsai said she would not think or talk about it now.

"An end is usually an end to me. I wouldn't think or talk about the next stage," she said.

In her concession speech, she also congratulated the incumbent Ma for winning the election.

She called on Ma to listen to the voice of the people in the next four years, lead the country with fairness and not disappoint people's expectations.

After the press conference, Tsai walked out of the building and comforted her supporters who had gathered outside the campaign headquarters despite the rain.

"I know everyone is sad about the result. It's OK to cry," she said. "It's OK to feel depressed and disappointed, but don't be frustrated, and don't give up. We still need to fight for Taiwan optimistically."

Waving Tsai's signature pink flags and homemade placards, many supporters burst into tears over her loss and even interrupted Tsai's speech several times by shouting out loud: "Stay (as the chairwoman)! Don't go!"

"I really want to thank all of you. It has been a wonderful journey over the past four years. You are my best partners," she said with tears in her eyes.

(By Sofia Wu, Jamie Wang, Kendra Lin and James Lee)
ENDITEM/npw