TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen and her running mate Chen Chien-ren officially registered their bid for the 14th term of the president and vice president of the R.O.C. yesterday in Taipei amid cheering supporters. In remarks given at the Central Election Commission (CEC) before registration formalities, Tsai vowed to restore confidence and pride to the Taiwanese people should she assume office on May 20, 2016.
They face the Kuomintang (KMT) ticket of Eric Chu and Wang Ju-hsuan (王如玄) and the People First Party (PFP) and the Minkuotang (MKT) joint ticket of James Soong and Hsu Hsin-ying, both of which registered their candidacy earlier in the week.
Tsai, 59, the unofficial front-runner for months before registration opened this week, said that the path to writing the six Chinese characters of her and Chen's name on the candidate registration form took four hard years of preparation. She is widely credited for uniting the party despite its 2012 loss to outgoing President Ma Ying-jeou, which began with a well-received concession speech and later with an overwhelming victory at the local level against the ruling KMT in 2014 fueled in part by growing skepticism of Ma's cross-strait economic policies.
"The people's hopes are the nation's hopes. Let each and every one of us join the movement of hope and let the Taiwanese people be filled with confidence and pride ... Now we are ready to move forward, and be the masters we have wished for," Tsai declared.
Assets to be Placed in Trust if Elected: Tsai
As part of the registration process, Tsai herself put down the NT$15 million (approximately US$459,000 or S$648,800) security deposit. She expressed confidence that she would earn enough votes to get the deposit back. Tsai promised yesterday that if elected president, she along with all members of her administration (Cabinet) would be required to put their assets into a trust.
Tsai and Chen's declared assets were also revealed, with Tsai amassing personal savings of NT$53,423,282 (approx. US$1.63 million), approximately NT$4.1 million (US$125,000) in stocks and securities and six separate properties in the Greater Taipei region. Chen's personal savings weighed in at approximately NT$5 million (approximately US$153,000), four tracts of land and seven properties. His investments (in his wife's name) amounted to NT$14.1 million (US$432,000).
Debates, 'compromising files'
After registration, Tsai told reporters that preparations had begun for publicized debates with the two other opposing camps, although the time and place needed to be worked out between advisors of each of the other candidates.
Responding to KMT rival Chu who said he had "compromising files" on Tsai but did not want to run a negative campaign, Tsai questioned why Chu would have those files in the first place if he intended to make good on his intentions.