William Lai Faces an Uphill Battle in His Primary Run Against President Tsai
The News Lens
By: Milo Hsieh
On Monday, former Premier William Lai (賴清德) announced his entry into Taiwan’s
presidential race. A report in The News Lens, citing poll data, suggested that President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) chances of winning re-election are “as slim as ever.”
However, a wave of support for Tsai among prominent Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) politicians is suggesting otherwise.
Lai, who served as premier in the Tsai administration until January 2019, entered the DPP primary on Monday, a surprising move given Tsai’s recent poise in the face of cross-Strait tensions. Despite snickers of Lai running prior to the start of 2019, when Tsai’s popularity was low following her party’s brutal November nine-in-one election losses, Tsai was able to regain support by responding firmly to a coercive speech on Taiwanmade on Jan. 2 by Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
Lai’s announcement created a dilemma for the DPP. He challenges Tsai from the left, having pronounced his support for an independent Taiwan. By contrast, Tsai’s careful handling of cross-Strait relations despite early Chinese pressure in her term has earned her the applause of U.S. decision makers and Taiwan experts. [FULL STORY]