Taipei, Jan. 15 (CNA) Eric Chu (朱立倫), the presidential candidate of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), on Friday called for solidarity within the pan-blue camp.
Speaking passionately in the election-eve rally held in a stadium in New Taipei, where he is the mayor, he said that he wanted to say to the good friends of the People First Party (PFP) and the New Party that "over the past 20 years, whenever we were divided and not united, we failed."
Amid the drizzle, Chu implored thousands of supporters to unite to support him and the KMT, noting that both political parties had originally splintered from the KMT.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) also attended the Taipei rally to lend his support.
He bowed to all to solicit support for Chu and cited what the KMT has achieved over the years.
Ma noted that the number of tourist arrivals surpassed 10 million from the 3 million in the last year of the Democratic Progressive Party administration, while the number of countries that provide visa-free treatment to Taiwan nationals has increased to 161 from 54 during the previous DPP administration.
The social order has been the best in 20 years, with fraud and violent crime dropping sharply, Ma said.
Cross-Taiwan Strait relations are also the most peaceful they have been in 66 years, he added.
He said he believes that if elected, Chu will continue in the right direction, and "while I've not done well enough, Chu will surely do better."
Earlier in the evening, Chu said in a campaign rally in Taichung that Taiwan cannot afford further delays and that people must go to the polls Saturday, no matter how discontented they are with the current situation.
Speaking at a pre-election rally, Chu noted that in the local elections in November 2014, a lot of KMT supporters, perhaps out of dissatisfaction with the government, did not turn out to vote, but he urged them to come out this time despite their anger with the party.
He said the voters must not vent their anger on Taiwan and must firmly support the Republic of China.
"We are a political party that knows how to reflect upon itself," Chu said.
"The KMT is characterized by its rational, middle-of-the-way and magnanimous traits," Chu said. "We will not take the people to the streets, nor do we know how to call names. We only know to broach substantive policy platforms," he added.
He also said that he has come from the grassroots and that during his past 17 years in politics, he has known the grassroots the most.
That morning, Chu, accompanied by eight KMT legislative candidates in Taipei, traveled in convoy to canvass votes in all eight electoral districts of Taipei over a four-hour period. He was mostly greeted by supporters who waved the national flag and offered high-fives, but he also encountered those who gave him the thumbs down.
(By Hsieh Chia-chen, Chao Li-yn and Lilian Wu)ENDITEM/J/ke