Throughout the election season, there has been one person not on the ballot who has had a major influence on events, former President Ma Ying-jeou. Just days before the election, Ma has once again made waves with his comments.
Former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) published a half-page advertisement in Taiwan’s two largest newspapers on Thursday, urging voters to “concentrate” their ballots in support of the blue camp's candidates: Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) and Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康).
However, Ma's recent interview with Deutsche Welle, where he said Chinese leader Xi Jinping (習近平) must be trusted regarding cross-strait relations, has sparked controversy across the political spectrum.
The stir prompted responses from all the presidential candidates. KMT nominee Hou distanced himself from Ma’s comments, emphasizing that many of the proposals and opinions of former president Ma are not the same as his own.
Meanwhile, Chinese democracy activist Wang Dan (王丹) sarcastically posted on Facebook that he admires Ma Ying-jeou's candidness in openly acknowledging trust in Xi Jinping and for no longer pretending at all.
DPP presidential candidate Lai (賴清德) criticized Ma's stance, asserting that Ma's ideas are outdated, and the so-called "1992 Consensus" has been repeatedly framed by Xi Jinping using the "One China Principle" and the "One Country, Two Systems" model for Taiwan.
TPP presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) expressed that while communication with China is essential, blindly trusting others from the outset is risky.
The response to Ma’s comments shows that the former president doesn’t need to be in the race to have an impact on it.