At Taiwan election debate, DPP's Tsai Ing-wen says people want change as govt doesn't listen

Taiwan's 2016 presidential election candidate Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party.
Taiwan's 2016 presidential election candidate Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party.PHOTO: EPA

TAIPEI (Bloomberg) - Taiwan's electorate wants a change in government because the ruling administration doesn't listen to the people, Ms Tsai Ing-wen, the frontrunner in Taiwan's presidential election, said in a debate on Saturday (Jan 2).

Ms Tsai, chairman of Taiwan's opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), pledged to reform the efficiency of the government and to ensure transparency in her 21/2-hour debate with ruling party candidate Eric Chu and People First Party candidate James Soong.

Mr Chu asked Ms Tsai why she avoids talking about the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a proposed free-trade agreement, with Asian countries, and to explain her alternative to the 92 Consensus, the broad agreement made with China in 1992.

Mr Soong said in the debate that he would help small and medium enterprises boost exports by about TW$300 billion (S$12.9 billion) in four years.

Taiwan's relations with China have come under the spotlight as the democratically ruled island prepares to choose a successor Jan 16 to President Ma Ying-jeou, whose rapprochement policy culminated in an first-of-its-kind meeting with China's President Xi Jinping last November.

Public opinion polls show Ms Tsai, whose party officially supports independence, holding a wide lead.

China's Communist Party, which still considers Taiwan a province, passed a law in 2005 allowing an attack if the island formalises the split.