Former Taiwan premier urges public to ignore rumors about DPP's 2020 candidate

William Lai said discussions on cabinet positions should be withheld until after the primary

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William Lai at an anti-annexation rally on April 2...

William Lai at an anti-annexation rally on April 2... (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Former premier William Lai (賴清德) in a live Facebook broadcast today (Friday, April 26) urged the public to ignore rumors about Tsai Ing-wen and him running on the same election ticket.

Civil groups yesterday called for the two potential presidential candidates to run together on the same Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) ticket in 2020, with one as vice president. Lai said today that acknowledging rumors on the matter would encourage the outside world to believe the party has succumb to factionalism and bribery.

Lai said he will continue striving to represent the DPP in next year’s presidential election. He expressed hope that society will stand behind his right to participate in the party primary and respect the spirit of democracy enshrined in the process.

The primary is not just about who wins or loses, said Lai, but is an embodiment of the democratic ideology. I do not believe the public would accept a recall of the primary election process for a minority to decide the party’s presidential candidate, he said.

Asserting he or Tsai should run on the same ticket prior to the primary results not only contravenes the spirit of democracy but will cause people to lose faith in the party, Lai said. It will give off the impression that the DPP is divided or may have sunk to bribery to determine the presidential candidate.

Lai reiterated that the primary will be a “gentleman’s battle,” and said he will not attack Tsai. He expressed hope neither candidate would attempt to deliberately tarnish the other with outsider criticisms.

Lai stressed that according to Article 84 of the Enforcement Rules of the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election Recall Act, those who offer or accept bribes to renounce their candidacy face between three and 10 years in prison, and may be subject to a fine of between NT$2 million and NT$20 million.

Furthermore, he said, the legislation was revised last year to include primary elections within its scope.

At a press conference yesterday hosted by pro-independence group Taiwan Society, Lai appealed for citizens to unite against annexation and defend Taiwan’s sovereignty. We must oppose a peace accord, fake peace, the “1992 Consensus,” the “One China Principle” and “one country, two systems,” he said.