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It's time to change president: DPP candidate

2011/12/17 18:06:02

Taipei, Dec. 17 (CNA) Taiwan needs to change its leadership and elect a visionary to revamp its economy and safeguard its sovereignty in the coming four years, opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen said Saturday.

"After nearly four years under President Ma Ying-jeou's leadership, we have seen our economy losing growth momentum and our sovereignty eroding. It's high time we change the ruling party and change the president," Tsai said in a live televised debate.

As the main challenger to Ma's re-election bid, Tsai also took the occasion to accused the Ma campaign of having abused national apparatus and government resources to smear her and mislead local voters ahead of the Jan. 14 presidential poll.

She was referring to the Council for Economic Planning and Development's (CEPD's) recent declassification of official files that show Tsai signed papers in her capacity as vice premier in March 2007 endorsing government investment in biotech joint-venture TaiMed Biologics Co., of which Tsai became chairwoman in September 2007, four months after she ended her public service.

Describing such moves as ugly campaign scheming, Tsai said the practices simply helped to highlight President Ma's lackluster performances over the past three-plus years.

"If President Ma really had accomplished outstanding administrative achievements and had managed to deliver on his campaign promises, the ruling party would not have needed to use this kind of negative campaign strategy to attack me," Tsai contended.

In the second and last pre-election TV debate with her two election rivals -- Ma and People First Party Chairman James Soong --Tsai Tsai also mentioned that many members of the Beijing leadership's brain trust have publicly expressed their views that if Ma is given four more years, Taiwan and China would be able to move further toward peaceful unification.

Arguing that such a development is what many Taiwan people are most worried about, Tsai urged the public to vote out Ma to prevent any erosion of the country's sovereignty.

She also took issue with Ma's repeated mentioning of former President Chen Shui-bian's corrupt rule, saying Ma just looked at the past and failed to offer a broad vision for Taiwan's future development.

"For our country's bright future, we must have a new president," she urged.

On her own campaign promises, Tsai said if she is elected, she will give top priority to people's livelihoods, pursue equitable distribution of wealth and sustainable national development and reinforce Taiwan's democratic system.

"If elected, I will spend NT$40 billion in four years to establish a comprehensive public service system that will include long-term care for the elderly, day care for children and social housing for young couples and disadvantaged groups," she explained.

She also promised to invest NT$100 billion in setting up a rural development fund to narrow the gap between urban and rural areas. To achieve the goal of equitable distribution of financial resources, Tsai pledged to cut tax rates for wage earners while raising capital gains taxes.

Meanwhile, Tsai vowed to halve the government's budget deficit in four years and achieve a balanced budget in eight years.

"If elected, I will also continue pushing for judicial reform and allow as many people, social groups and academics to participate in policy formulation as possible in order to make Taiwan a democratic paradise," she promised.

(By Sofia Wu)