2024 presidential election campaign updates
DPP presidential candidate Lai Ching-te has been telling reporters that if elected in January's ballot he will work towards cutting cancer deaths by a third. According to Lai, he will allocate NT$10 billion for new drugs and advanced treatments if elected.
Speaking at a press conference in Taipei, Lai said the funding will be part of his plans to expand a national cancer prevention and control programme launched in 2005. However, Lai failed to provide any specific details on how the proposed spending commitments would be financed.
Cancer remained the top cause of death here in Taiwan in 2022 for the 41st consecutive year - claiming 51,927 lives, or about a quarter of the island's overall mortality rate. Lai said he will gradually raise the cap of subsidies for people who suffer disabling chronic diseases or dementia and need around-the-clock services at the long-term care facility to NT$180,000 a year and he went on to say his future administration will also seek to increase the number of long-term care facilities islandwide.
Meanwhile KMT presidential candidate Hou Yu-ih has told attendees at an event in Silicon Valley that under his leadership Taiwan will emulate the US's "friend-shoring" policy to reduce reliance on China-based production. During a forum in Foster City, Hou described getting Taiwan-headquartered businesses to move their production away to friendlier nations as a "matter of national security." He cited Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing's facilities in Europe, Japan and America as one example of his so-called "friend shoring" strategy – saying that "such diversification has allowed Taiwanese firms to reduce their over-reliance on China." The KMT presidential candidate went on to say that he will work closely with Silicon Valley to promote Taiwan's high-tech industry if elected. Hou's visit to Silicon Valley was the final stop of his eight-day trip to the United States. He arrived back in Taiwan from what his campaign office has dubbed a "journey of dialogue and deepening friendship" earlier this morning. Previously Hou had held talks with 11 American lawmakers in Washington, DC.
Meanwhile, Taiwan People's Party presidential candidate Ko Wen-je is urging Lai Ching-te to answer questions regarding the mislabelling and mishandling of imported eggs. Speaking to reporters, Ko said "nothing about the incident makes sense" including the fact that a company with a registered capital of NT$500,000 was tasked with importing 88 million eggs from Brazil that cost several hundred million New Taiwan dollars.
Ko is stressing that that company was marked as temporarily closed on the day the directive to import Brazilian eggs was issued - and there are serious questions as to how a temporarily closed company could have been awarded the government contract and the TPP presidential hopeful also says the bidding process suggests that there may be corruption behind the egg imports, and Lai, as a member of the DPP administration, must not distance himself from the incident. Media reports have said that Ultra Source, the company at the centre of the controversy, changed its operational status to "temporarily closed" on 24 February, the same day the Ministry of Agriculture announced the egg import programme. The company was then awarded the contract on 1 March before it became operational again on 2 March.
Terry Gou has begun his presidential election signature drive, as he seeks at least 289,667 signatures of support to secure a place on the ballot in January. Gou has set up signature collection sites in Taipei, New Taipei, Yilan, Taichung, Miaoli, Changhu, Nantou, Yunlin, Chiayi and Pingtung.
Along with Gou and his running mate Tammy Lai, the list of independent presidential hopefuls hoping to register for the petition to become eligible candidates in the election includes 18 other individuals.
All of the independent hopefuls must submit the signatures of 1.5% of eligible voters in the previous presidential election by 2 November to qualify as candidates. They also must also pay a NT$1 million deposit. The Central Election Commission says results of the petitions and the names of the candidates who have garnered enough signatures to make it onto the ballot will be announced on 14 November.