Former Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou wasn't invited to his party's final rally on eve of election

His name was originally on the list, one media reported.

Brenda Khoo | January 13, 2024, 05:28 PM



Taiwan’s former Kuomintang (KMT) president Ma Ying-jeou was absent at his party’s major rally on the eve before the presidential election.

When asked about whether he was invited to the rally, Ma told the media that he did not receive an invitation, Central News Agency reported on Jan. 12.

“Of course I will go if I receive an invitation,” he was quoted as saying by Central News Agency.

Ma’s office has said earlier that he would not attend the KMT’s rally in New Taipei City’s Banciao District, according to multiple Taiwanese media outlets such as Taipei Times, Taiwan News, and Central News Agency.

It would be the first time the former president was not invited to a major election rally held by the KMT, Taipei Times reported.

Originally on the list

A former KMT chairman and Taiwan president from 2008 to 2016, Ma, 73, had appeared at nearly all of the party’s more prominent campaign events.

United Daily News (UDN) claimed that Ma’s name was originally on the attendance list.

Linking the dots?

Taipei Times claimed that KMT has distanced itself from the former president, possible due to his interview on Jan. 10.

During the interview, Ma told German media Deutsche Welle that Taiwan can "never win against China".

He went on to claim that “as far as cross-strait relations go, you have to” trust China's President Xi Jinping.

Nevertheless, Taiwan News reported that KMT officials did not mention any connection to Ma’s interview.

However, his interview was mentioned by KMT vice-presidential candidate Jaw Shaw-kong during the Jan. 12 rally, as reported by Focus Taiwan.

The former president also said he does not believe Xi is pushing for unification, and advocated for reducing the defense budget and conscription period, as Taiwan could not win in a conflict with China.

What happened at the rally

The rally was attended by presidential candidate Hou Yu-ih, and his running mate Jaw. Event organisers said that around 250,000 people attended the event, Taipei Times reported on Jan. 13.

According to Taipei Times, the supporters chanted, “We want peace, not war,” and “vote out the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)”.

Several key KMT heavyweights were present, including KMT Chairman and former presidential candidate Eric Chu, former Kaohsiung mayor and presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu, Taipei mayor Chiang Wan-an, and Taiwan's longest-serving legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng.

Taiwan's presidential and legislative elections have begun on Jan. 13, and live updates are provided in English on Focus Taiwan and TaiwanPlus.

The three-corner presidential election is being contested among DPP's William Lai, KMT's Hou, and Taiwan People's Party Ko Wen-je.

Top image from: 劉明政/Facebook and 侯友宜/Facebook.

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