Tsai hopeful for DPP unity

2019/06/14 15:52:58 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文)

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文)

Taipei, June 14 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) expressed optimism Friday that the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will be united again following its presidential primary, despite concerns that the party's pro-Taiwan independence faction may not support her.

"After the result of primary polls were released Thursday, the DPP issued a statement expressing hope that the party can be united and integrated," Tsai told reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony in Taipei to recognize the work of police officers ahead of Saturday's Police Day.

Tsai said the DPP's next mission of party integration will be completed smoothly, "because we all know that only with solidarity can we stand a chance of winning the 2020 election."

The president was responding to a media inquiry on whether she is concerned about not being able to garner support from the DPP's pro-independence faction, which rooted for former Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) during the primary, especially after former President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) questioned the validity of the party's primary polls.

Chen was referring to the wide lead obtained by Tsai in the polls, in which she beat Lai by 8.2 percentage points, Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) by 11 percentage points and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) by 13 percentage points.

The disgraced former president, released from jail on medical parole, also pointed to the narrow polling discrepancies between the five polls for the four potential candidates, which were all within about 2 percentage points, as further proof that the poll results are not reliable.

According to the result of the DPP's primary polls, which combined 16,051 valid samples between Monday and Wednesday, Tsai's support rates ranged from 34.5 percent to 36.5 percent when compared with Han and Ko, who received a support rate of between 23.2 percent and 25.6 percent and between 21.6 percent and 23.8 percent, respectively.

When compared with Ko (26.2 percent to 28.3 percent) and Han (22.5 percent to 24.7 percent), Lai's support rates stood from 26.6 percent to 28.4 percent.

Rebutting Chen's concerns about the validity of the poll results, DPP Secretary-General Lo Wen-jia (羅文嘉) said that experts assigned by both the Lai and Tsai camps were invited to participate in all key polling procedures, including sampling, interviews and data processing.

Not once has the DPP conducted its primary polls in such a transparent and rigid manner as it did the presidential polls this time, Lo said. "(We) wanted to make sure that there would be no doubts about the results."

With only a few months to go before the January 2020 presidential and legislative elections, Lo said the DPP still has two giant mountains to climb: voters who do not support the DPP and voters who are loyal only to Lai.

Cross-analysis of the results show that about 5 percent of voters only support Lai and no one else, Lo said. "This is a huge mountain to overcome. That is why we must carry out party integration and not overlook any group of supporters."

Meanwhile, DPP Chairman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) declined to give a direct answer regarding whether a Tsai-Lai ticket is likely, saying that the party has yet to touch upon the issue.

Cho said the DPP's immediate priorities will be for him to arrange a meeting between Lai and Tsai and for the party to think about its legislative nominations and at-large lawmaker list.

(By Stacy Hsu, Wen Kuei-hsiang and Matt Yu)

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