Taipei, Sept. 1 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officially kicked off her re-election campaign team Sunday by authorizing hundreds of regional directors.
In two separate closed-door ceremonies in Taipei, Tsai authorized more than 500 campaign staff, including DPP campaign directors in the country's 23 counties and cities, as well as representatives from various business sectors, who pledged their support to help Tsai with her re-election bid.
Although the media was not permitted to attend the events, those who participated told CNA afterward that Tsai called on all campaign staff to be united in the face of the expected tough battle ahead.
It's now four months away from the January 2020 election, when the country's next presidential and legislative elections will be held concurrently Jan. 11.
In her address, Tsai said her administration has launched a series of reforms over the past three years that are part of its efforts to build a solid foundation for the country's future.
The job is now only halfway done and she needs another four years to finish the job to give Taiwan a brighter future, she added.
As more and more political parties have been formed over the past few months, Tsai said these new forces could impact the election results.
Tsai was referring to the fact that four political parties have been formed in preparation for the 2020 elections, half of which lean toward Taiwan independence, like the DPP.
The four parties are the Taiwan Action Party Alliance and the Formosa Alliance, both considered pan-green; Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je's (柯文哲) Taiwan People's Party (TPP); and the Taiwan Renewal Party launched Saturday by former Tainan Magistrate Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智).
She set the DPP's goal for 2020 of winning a majority in the 113-seat Legislative Yuan and of her winning re-election.
A DPP victory is important to safeguard Taiwan's security and to make sure the country's freedom and democracy can continue to prosper, she said.
In the previous presidential and legislative elections held in January 2016, Tsai won 6.89 million votes, or 56.12 percent of the total votes cast, defeating Eric Chu (朱立倫) of the Kuomintang (KMT).
The DPP also secured a majority for the first time in history, winning 68 of the 113 seats in the legislature.
Lin Hsi-yao (林錫耀), Tsai's campaign manager, told CNA that Tsai also asked the campaign team to focus on the "Air War," meaning focusing more on television advertising and social media.
Aside from using more traditional systematic operation designed to get supporters into the polling booths, campaign staff around the country also need to pay closer attention to the latest information circulating on social media, Lin said.
Tsai is facing her main challenge from Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) of the KMT.
Other potential challengers include Ko and tycoon Terry Gou (郭台銘), who is mulling whether to run as an independent, a decision he is expected to make before the Sept. 17 deadline for registration as a presidential candidate.