President confident about winning against challenger

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Asked by reporters on the sidelines of the New Southbound Policy Forum whether she would support Lai if he wins the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) primary, President Tsai Ing-wen said, “You should not ask me that question at this particular time. Of course, I will say I’m going to win.” (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (CNA) – President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) expressed confidence on May 30 that she will emerge as the winner in her party’s presidential primary, which will be held next month to choose between her and former Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德).

Asked by reporters on the sidelines of the New Southbound Policy Forum whether she would support Lai if he wins the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) primary, Tsai said, “You should not ask me that question at this particular time. Of course, I will say I’m going to win.”

After weeks of negotiations, the DPP’s Central Executive Committee decided Wednesday to choose its 2020 presidential candidate by means of a primary that would include three-way public opinion polls to compare the popularity of its candidates against independent Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), the two frontrunners nationwide.

The committee also decided that its polls would be held June 10-14 via telephone, with equal weighting for samples obtained from calls to landline and cellphone numbers.

A televised forum will also be held for Tsai and Lai to discuss their platforms, tentatively on June 8, and the DPP will announce its candidate by mid-June, the committee said.

Commenting on the party’s conclusions, Tsai said Thursday that she would follow the format of the primary.

Asked if she was hoping Lai would step back from the DPP primary and agree instead to enter the 2020 presidential election as her running mate, Tsai did not give a direct answer, saying only that it would be best if the party was united.

Meanwhile, Lai said in a TV interview Thursday that when he met with Tsai two days earlier, they did not discuss the subject of whether he should be on the DPP’s 2020 presidential ticket as Tsai’s running mate.

He did not comment on the DPP committee’s decision regarding the weighting of the samples obtained from landlines and mobile phones in the party’s opinion polls for its primary.

Lai said he was not at liberty to disclose the discussions he had with Tsai on that issue or other matters.

In the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) camp, a list of presidential primary contenders will be announced on June 10, followed by a series of televised forums across Taiwan from June 23 to July 4 in which the candidates will introduce their platforms.

The KMT, the country’s largest opposition party, will hold a nationwide opinion poll July 5-15 and release the results the following day.

After that, the results will be submitted to the KMT Central Standing Committee on July 17 for approval, and the party’s 2020 presidential candidate will be formally announced July 28 at its national congress.

Taiwan is scheduled to hold its next general election Jan. 11, 2020, which will also include a vote for the Legislature’s 113 seats. ●

By Yeh Su-ping, Wen Kuei-hsiang and Chung Yu-chen