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President starts nationwide tour after DPP election humbling

2018/11/27 18:03:32

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文)

Taipei, Nov. 27 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who announced her resignation as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairwoman late Saturday to take responsibility for the ruling party's defeat in the local government elections, on Tuesday started what she called a journey around Taiwan to listen to the public.

After the polls Saturday, which saw the DPP's number of mayors and county magistrates fall from 13 to 6 in the country's 22 cities and counties, there have been calls for the party to engage in self-reflection.

In a Facebook post, Tsai said that voters expressed their displeasure with the administration by voting for other candidates, indicating that she needs to listen more to the public.

With that in mind, Tsai said she plans to go on a tour of Taiwan to hear first hand the thoughts and concerns of people across the country.

The first stop on Tsai's tour was Kaohsiung, where former DPP lawmaker Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) lost the mayoral race in a city run by the DPP for nearly 20 years, to the main opposition Kuomintang's Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) by more than 150,000 votes.

At a forum with Chen's supporters in Kaohsiung Tuesday, Tsai first apologized for the lackluster performance of her administration that led to the party's drubbing in the local elections.

However, Tsai said despite the DPP's defeat, she believes a period of self-reflection will help the party perform better in future elections.

She said that the party must first determine the reason for its defeat and then central and local governments have to make improvements.

The party has already begun examining its electoral failure, as a result of which modified policies and personnel changes can be expected, Tsai said, adding that an acting DPP chair is expected to be selected during the party's central executive committee meeting Wednesday, followed shortly thereafter by a new party chair.

Meanwhile, Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦), who won re-election, said he told the president during a congratulatory phone call earlier Tuesday that just reflecting on the DPP's campaign strategy and making personnel adjustments is not enough. Cheng suggested a large-scale reshuffle across the Presidential Office, the Cabinet and the party is needed to respond to public opinion and regain people's trust.

There is no need for the party to fear failure but it should be afraid of losing the hearts of voters, Cheng noted, adding that the life of a party hinges on the support of people and the DPP should change its bad policies to better meet the expectations of the people and stay in power.

DPP legislative caucus secretary-general Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) ascribed the party's defeat in the local elections entirely to its failed policies and failure to make good use of human resources and said Tsai should be held responsible.

The party should spend the next three months getting its house in order after the defeat, Lee said, adding that he has called for a Cabinet reshuffle in January at the latest.

(By Lu Hsin-hui, Chen Chi-fong, Chen Chu-hua and Evelyn Kao)
Enditem/AW