Taipei, President Tsai Ing-wen said Tuesday that she is not afraid of competition in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) presidential primary and is willing to team up with any member in the party to run in the 2020 presidential election if such cooperation can boost the party's chances of winning.
Tsai, who has registered as a candidate in the DPP primary, said that the party's primary should aim to select the candidate most likely to win the 2020 presidential race through party unity, reduce the primary's negative effects on her administration and ensure the party retains its grip on power.
Tsai expounded on her views on the primary after she met former Premier Lai Ching-te Monday, who is challenging the president's bid for re-election, to exchange views on the party's nomination of its presidential candidate.
The meeting was convened by a five-member team assembled by the DPP to try to find common ground between Tsai and Lai.
The mediation team is set to submit a report during the weekly DPP Central Executive Committee meeting Wednesday before the deadline for the mediation team to find a solution to the issue through negotiations ends Friday.
At a press conference Tuesday, Tsai said she had previously kept silent because she wanted to give the team leeway, but such silence has led some people to think that she is afraid of competition in the primary.
Tsai stressed that she has led the party for more than 10 years and her expectations for the party to be united and win the election are consistent.
Noting that she is the incumbent president and the DPP is the ruling party, Tsai said that how the ruling party deals with its nomination will affect the country's national policy, government operations and policy implementation.
Therefore, Tsai said she stressed during Monday's meeting with Lai that the DPP must unify to achieve the greatest possibility of winning the presidential race and must reduce the impact caused by the primary on the administration.
The question now is whether one of them should withdraw from the race or whether they should cooperate with each other in the next election, she said.
If cooperation could achieve the greatest possibility of victory, the party should do all it can to move toward that direction, she said.
She further said that she competed with Premier Su Tseng-chang in the DPP's presidential primary in 2012.
Lai, the other hand, was a premier under her administration and has collaborated with her for the longest period of time.
Only through cooperation can the DPP achieve its biggest achievements and fulfill its responsibility for Taiwan, Tsai said, noting that after the 2012 DPP primary, the party lost the presidential election and had not won any presidential elections once primary contests were conducted.
The upcoming primary is not about the problem with her personal sense of mission, "nor about the problem between myself and Lai," Tsai stressed. "I am the president, the nomination process and result will affect the national policy and the morale of public service departments."
At a separate press conference Tuesday, Lai reaffirmed his determination to go through with the primary, reiterating that if Tsai wins the primary, he will give her his full support to secure victory in the 2020 presidential election.
A vocal proponent of independence for Taiwan, Lai said his decision to vie for the DPP's nomination in the primary is aimed at soliciting support from Taiwan's people and for the sake of Taiwan, but not for his personal or factional reasons.
The DPP has said that if mediation efforts fail by April 12, a primary based on opinion polls will be initiated.
The candidates are set to give political platform presentations on live television April 13-14, followed by public opinion polls to be conducted April 15-17 to select the DPP's candidate for president.
The DPP's Central Executive Committee is expected to announce a presidential candidate April 24.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel