The world is watching what choice Taiwan makes as the only Chinese-speaking democracy, President Tsai Ing-wen said on Friday, as the island’s citizens prepare to vote in weekend elections.
“To choose Tsai Ing-wen and Enoch Wu is to choose to stand together with democracy and freedom,” Tsai told reporters at a campaign event in Taipei, Reuters reports.
Wu is an up-and-coming member of Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), a former banker who is standing for parliament.
“More importantly, it shows our determination to defend our country and sovereignty,” added Tsai, who is seeking a second term.
Tsai said Taiwan is the “only democratic country in all Chinese-speaking societies in the world”.
“The whole world is watching how we make our choice.”
Taiwan holds presidential and parliamentary polls on Saturday in the shadow of a ramped up effort by China to get the island to accept Beijing’s rule, and anti-government protests in Hong Kong.
Tsai toured the streets of Taipei early on Friday on the back of a truck, with colorful flags and boisterous supporters making their way through busy traffic.
She is being challenged by Han Kuo-yu of the main opposition Kuomintang party. Han favors close ties with Beijing and says this is the only way to ensure Taiwan’s security and prosperity.
“Please come out to support Han Kuo-yu, whose vision for the country is ‘Taiwan safe, people get rich’ and ‘cross-strait peace’,” Han campaign secretary general Tseng Yung-chuan told a news conference.
Tsai and Han will both hold mass rallies on Friday evening – Tsai in Taipei and Han in the southern port city of Kaohsiung, where he is mayor.
Voting begins at 8 am local time on Saturday and the polls close at 4 pm.
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