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DPP makes campaign push with HQ opening in Taipei

12/03/2023 08:20 PM
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DPP presidential candidate Lai Ching-te, his running mate Hsiao Bi-khim are joined by Presidential Tsai Ing-wen and government officials of the ruling party for the formal opening of their national campaign headquarters in Taipei Sunday. CNA photo Dec. 3, 2023
DPP presidential candidate Lai Ching-te, his running mate Hsiao Bi-khim are joined by Presidential Tsai Ing-wen and government officials of the ruling party for the formal opening of their national campaign headquarters in Taipei Sunday. CNA photo Dec. 3, 2023

Taipei, Dec. 3 (CNA) The ruling Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) candidates for president and vice president on Sunday opened their national campaign headquarters in Taipei which will serve as a base for operations ahead of the Jan. 13 elections.

Greeted by thousands of jubilant flag-waving supporters, Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), director of the campaign HQ, announced on the stage that the upcoming campaign will involve all party members working towards securing victory in the presidential election.

The former health minister urged voters to "choose the right people" who will advocate for and safeguard Taiwan's sovereignty in the context of an increasingly assertive China.

Taiwan's incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), along with several other DPP heavyweights, rebuked the Kuomintang (KMT), the opposition party, for their fearmongering campaign strategy.

President Tsai Ing-wen (center) addresses supporters at the opening of DPP presidential candidate Lai Ching-te's national campaign headquarters in Taipei Sunday. CNA photo Dec. 3, 2023
President Tsai Ing-wen (center) addresses supporters at the opening of DPP presidential candidate Lai Ching-te's national campaign headquarters in Taipei Sunday. CNA photo Dec. 3, 2023

The KMT has consistently promoted the narrative that the upcoming presidential race is a binary choice between war and peace.

The opposition party's presidential nominee, Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜), and his running mate, Jaw Shau-kong (趙少康), said in late November that a victory for the DPP in the 2024 election would likely result in a conflict with China.

"Does anyone want war? No. Do we desire peace? Everyone does," Tsai said, emphasizing the importance of enhancing the nation's self-defense capabilities to ensure its safety.

Taking the stage, Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), who recently stepped down from her role as Taiwan's representative to the United States to be the DPP candidate for vice president, emphasized that if they win the election, Tsai's steady policy approach will continue.

DPP vice presidential candidate Hsiao Bi-khim waves to supporters outside the party's national presidential campaign headquarters in Taipei Sunday. CNA photo Dec. 3, 2023
DPP vice presidential candidate Hsiao Bi-khim waves to supporters outside the party's national presidential campaign headquarters in Taipei Sunday. CNA photo Dec. 3, 2023

Hsiao highlighted her credentials and said that through her decades of working in politics, she has learned when to be outspoken, when to be low-key, when to be firm and when to be flexible.

"Our team will not let the people of Taiwan down," she said.

Meanwhile, DPP presidential front-runner Lai Ching-te (賴清德) criticized Hou's recent proposal to allow Chinese students to work in Taiwan, saying it could negatively impact the job prospects of Taiwanese youth.

"There is no way we can entrust the country to this group of people," he said.

The TVBS, Mirror Media, and ETtoday polling results from late November all showed the Lai-Hsiao presidential ticket ahead of the KMT and the smaller Taiwan People's Party (TPP).

"I support the DPP because of their progressive legislation, especially regarding human rights and the same-sex marriage bill," designer Chang Shih-tsung (張世宗), who married his partner right after same-sex marriage became legal in Taiwan in 2019, told CNA at Sunday's event.

DPP supporter Chang Shih-tsung (right) pose for photo with his husband outside the ruling party’s national campaign headquarters for the Jan. 13 elections in Taipei on Sunday. CNA photo Dec. 3, 2023
DPP supporter Chang Shih-tsung (right) pose for photo with his husband outside the ruling party’s national campaign headquarters for the Jan. 13 elections in Taipei on Sunday. CNA photo Dec. 3, 2023

Meanwhile, 77-year-old retiree Chen (陳) told CNA that she backs the ruling party because Taiwan has a "challenging neighbor who constantly bullies us," and the leaders of the other two major opposition parties in the country seem to align with that neighbor.

The KMT and TPP are considered to be more China-friendly.

The first televised policy presentation for candidates contesting Taiwan's Jan. 13, 2024, presidential election will be held on Dec. 20.

(By Chung Yu-chen)

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Supporters cheer at the opening of DPP presidential candidate Lai Ching-te's national campaign headquarters in Taipei Sunday. CNA photo Dec. 3, 2023
Supporters cheer at the opening of DPP presidential candidate Lai Ching-te's national campaign headquarters in Taipei Sunday. CNA photo Dec. 3, 2023
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