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Opposition party chairwoman announces presidential bid (update)

2011/03/11 16:15:28

Taipei, March 11 (CNA) Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of the oppositionDemocratic Progressive Party (DPP) , announced Friday that she willseek her party's nomination to run for president in 2012.

In a statement titled "I Heard the Voice of Taiwan, " Tsai laidout her view that Taiwan needs new politics, new society and neweconomy, and she called on the new generation to take up theresponsibilities of the future.

She elaborated on her decision to throw her hat into the ring ofthe presidential race, saying that over the past three years, she hastraveled around Taiwan and has seen children strive under difficultcircumstances. The sight of children doing homework under dim lightsbeside their parents' street vendor stalls "moved and touched me,"she said.

"This is why I've decided to do everything possible so that thenext generation can believe they can harbor the hopes of the nationand see their own futures."

She said that for the last three years, she has ben thinkingabout the possibility of a new political culture.

"Starting from now, is it possible for us not to invoke hatred ofconfrontation, but to invoke shared responsibility? Is it possiblenot to invoke politicians who rely on their charisma, but to invoke anew generation to shoulder the nation's responsibilities? " sheasked.

She also accused President Ma Ying-jeou's administration oflacking "core values."

She said that since Ma's inauguration in May 2008, incidents haveoccurred that have never happened before and the people's collectivefeelings have suffered repeated blows, including the Feb. 2deportation by the Philippines of 14 Taiwanese fraud suspects toChina.

Tsai said the younger generation will not be able to understandwhy the freedom and democracy achieved by the previous generationhave been so easily given up because of Ma's rapprochement withChina.

"Why is our national dignity being ignored and yet the governmentstill feels good about itself? Why is it that our identification withour land is so clear, yet the government is so vague in handling thequestion of sovereignty?" Tsai asked.

She lamented that the equitable distribution of wealth, of whichTaiwan used to be proud, has given way to the trend of "the richbecoming richer and the poor becoming poorer."

She expressed her feelings about the attributes of a leader,saying that a leader should exist not to glorify himself or herself,but to create a future and safeguard land, values and feelings.

She also spoke about her personality traits, noting that she hasbeen accused in the past of not understanding politics and of beingunable to survive in a complex political environment. However, shesaid, she has shown that politics do not require maneuvering and that"the more important thing is communication and trust."

Tsai's announcement of her presidential bid was made at a newsconference at National Taiwan University Hospital's internationalconvention center.

Those conspicuously absent from the news conference includedformer Vice President Annette Lu, who sent two floral baskets, andthree former premiers -- Su Tseng-chang, Frank Hsieh and Yu Shyi-kun.

Those present included Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu, ChiayiMagistrate Chang Hwa-kuan and pro-independence heavyweights Kukuan-min and Huang Kun-fu.

Tsai, 54, was the second DPP heavyweight to throw her hat intothe ring as a DPP standard-bearer for the presidential election,scheduled for next March.

Lu, 66, said last month that she intends to run in the DPPpresidential primary.

(By Lin Shen-hsu, Sophia Yeh and Lilian Wu)