Taipei: Thousands of Taiwanese opposition
supporters rallied Saturday in the capital, donating money from tiny piggy banks to support the campaign to unseat President
Ma Ying-jeou in the unexpectedly close election.
Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party has come
from behind and is now running neck and neck against Ma ahead
of the January 14 polls.
Tsai`s party uses piggy banks as a campaign theme dubbed
"Three Little Pigs." The idea was to band together thousands
of donations from workers and farmers to overcome what her
party calls the "big bad wolf" of Taiwanese corporate power
and defeat Ma.
"We count on the power of the piggies to battle a society
of injustice that still has the remnants of an authoritarian
government," Tsai told supporters who cheered her by holding
up their piggy banks.
At the rally at a boulevard outside the presidential
office building, many supporters complained about the widening
gap between the rich and poor. They chanted, "Let`s vote Tsai
Ing-wen to be Taiwan`s first female president."
Taiwan is selecting its fifth popularly elected president
in a poll that coincides with legislative elections.
The close race has alarmed many Taiwanese business
leaders, who until recently had been almost assured of a Ma
victory to plot a stable course for economic recovery.
Since taking office 3 1/2 years ago, the 61-year-old Ma
has won plaudits for his signature China engagement policy
that has brought tensions across the Taiwan Strait to the
lowest point since the two sides split amid civil war in 1949.
Ma has kept Taiwan`s jobless at a relatively low 4.3 per
cent. But he has been widely criticised for his perceived
inability to address the interests of blue-collar workers,
farmers and others less well-off, leading to worsening income
But under Ma`s initiative, Taiwan and China launched
direct flights and signed a landmark trade deal so the
island`s mainstay high-tech industries could take advantage of
China`s vast market.
That effort has won him wide business backing.