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Tsai Ing-wen still reluctant to commit to DPP chair run

Tsai Ing-wen still reluctant to commit to DPP chair run

Tsai Ing-wen continues to ward off questions on whether she will contend for the DPP chair in May, telling reporters that she is still reflecting on the matter. She says she does not plan to announce a timetable for the election and hopes to give it her full attention in the future.

Tsai stresses that the DPP now faces tremendous challenges as the external environment is changing constantly. At the same time, Taiwan also has serious challenges ahead of it and many people expect the DPP to do more for the nation. She said the party must be ready to confront the next stage of challenges, and there is a great deal of work to be done.

Tsai appeared as chairman of the Tsai Ing-wen Education Foundation Sunday at the Taipei International Book Exhibition, where she discussed the topic of "Is Taiwan is still a good brand?" with noted author Liu Ka-hsiang. She noted that while the people in Taiwan may seem cautious and conservative, there is always a potential for a bit of craziness. She said that society in Taiwan should open up so people can channel the energies they have accumulated and break through obstacles they meet. If that happens, she said, Taiwan will always be a good brand.

On Monday Tsai appeared at a New Year’s gathering of “Friends of Ing-wen,” greeting hundreds of friends and associates including Wellington Koo, the lawyer who is actively seeking the DPP’s nomination in the Taipei mayoral election; Taipei City Councilors Hsu Chia-ching and Lee Chien-chang; and Chih-cheng Lo, the DPP party chief for New Taipei City. When Koo saw the horde of reporters clustered around Tsai for interviews he quipped, "It looks like she’s running for president."

While Tsai once more shied away from the topic of the DPP chair, she was nevertheless very much the campaigner as she declared that the party must follow a balanced approach in its practices and abandon outdated and rigid policies. She added that the DPP needs an injection of new elements and new energy to broaden public support for the party and make it a key force in promoting change in Taiwan once more.

Tsai also noted that recent changes in society have brought civic groups to the fore as an important force in Taiwan. These are people who are not anxious to ally themselves with a particular political party, she said. A lot of them are undecided voters attracted to civic and activist groups, and they could eventually be formed into a new political party. Tsai emphasized that the DPP and the emerging civic groups are not competitors; they can complement each other in many ways, and the DPP can play a very positive role in harnessing the energy and ideas of people in civic groups with their youth and enthusiasm.