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Vice presidential candidates exchange fire over ability to govern

2012/01/02 23:43:29

Taipei, Jan. 2 (CNA) Vice presidential candidates for the Jan. 14 presidential election exchanged fire in a live televised platform presentation Monday over each other's capability to govern Taiwan, with the two principal parties offering different interpretations of many economic figures.

Premier Wu Den-yih of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) began his presentation with the achievements of President Ma Ying-jeou, who is seeking re-election. He started to raise his voice as he stepped up his attack on his major rival, Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP's) Su Jia-chyuan.

For his part, Su accused the Ma administration of failing to keep the promises it made before the 2008 general election, when a second power transfer took place. The DPP governed Taiwan between 2000-2008.

Wu touted the Ma administration's success in improving the local economy despite the global economic downturn, while Su cited a newly unveiled increase in the number of Taiwanese companies sending employees on furlough.

A total of 13,034 employees from 109 companies have reached agreements with their employers to take unpaid leave and 12,487 of them are currently on furlough, due to a global economic slowdown that has hurt some of Taiwan's high-tech companies, the Council of Labor Affairs said earlier in the day.

Wu said in Taiwanese that unlike Ma, who actually protected local farmers, DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen helped allow in hundreds of agricultural products from China in her capacity as the head of the Mainland Affairs Council.

The importance of incorruptibility was a hot topic during the single televised forum for vice presidential candidates.

The premier repeatedly highlighted Ma's incorruptibility and his efforts to fight corruption, but he faced numerous challenges from Su to make public his assets, as well the ones that belong to his family.

Meanwhile, Su accused the KMT of often smearing his name during election campaigning, while holding up a placard to show that a KMT local chapter head was indicted for political allegations against Su in a previous local election.

Citing previous poll results, Su touted himself as a better local government head than Wu, but Wu dismissed such allegations, saying that he had been popular.

Lin Ruey-shiung, a public health expert who is partnered with minor opposition People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong, belittled both the KMT and the DPP for their wrangling and inane rhetorical battles, saying that the public feels Ma lacks the ability to run the government, while Tsai's anti-China stance is worrying.

Lin said that some recent polls did not favor the PFP, suspecting that these poll results are being controlled by business conglomerates trying to support Ma and Tsai.

Lin also said that prosecutors should run a polygraph test on national security officials to find out what he alleged was the government's attempt to attack him with electromagnetic waves.

According to recent polls, Ma and Tsai are locked in a tight race, while Soong remains a distant third.

The third and final round of televised platform presentations by the three presidential candidates will be held at 8 p.m. Jan. 6 and broadcast live on China Television.

(By Jeffrey Wu, Elaine Hou and James Lee)