James Soong rejects idea of pan-blue coalition ticket
People First Party (PFP, ) presidential candidate James Soong ( ) said yesterday he is not considering joining forces with the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) in the upcoming presidential election.
Soong said in a radio interview that he decided to run in the 2016 election in order to break the bipartisan political landscape in Taiwan. A joint PFP-KMT ticket would once again pit pro-China pan-blue politicians against pro-independence pan-green politicians, he said.
The interview took place after a poll by the United Daily News (UDN) put Soong, who announced his bid on Thursday, well ahead of KMT candidate Hung Hsiu-chu ( ). Soong said the poll is an indication of a “good start” for his campaign and that he wants to widen the gap against Hung and catch up with the poll leader, Tsai Ing-wen ( ) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). In the UDN poll released yes- terday, 36 percent of respondents said they would vote for Tsai, ahead of 24 percent for Soong and 17 percent for Hung.
Soong said he is willing to communicate with Hung and Tsai on substantial issues and is open to cooperation with either one of them. The PFP founder also said he will pick his running mate by the end of October.
Poll for Reference Only: Hung
Meanwhile, Hung brushed aside Soong’s strong performance in the UDN poll, emphasizing that the results will be different once the public “calms down.” “Soong did a good job at his announcement press conference. In Taiwan, poll numbers go up when there is any action (from one party); once voters calm down and think, the result will be different,” she said.
Hung also dismissed the idea of a joint ticket with the PFP as “absolutely impossible,” stressing that she was confirmed as the KMT candidate in the party’s national congress in July.
Finding Ways to Cooperate: Chu
KMT Chairman Eric Chu ( ) said earlier in the day that while the KMT does not fear the PFP challenge, the party will not give up hope of “finding ways to cooperate.”
The DPP also said that they will try to communicate and cooperate with “all kinds of progressive forces” in the election. The party said that Tsai is not particularly concerned by the poll numbers and is focusing on winning voters’ support with the best policies and the best team. The UDN poll showed that Soong’s entry into the race has eaten into the support of both Hung and Tsai.
Soong also said in the interview that he will pay independent candidate Shih Ming-teh a visit to “say sorry.” Shih said in an article published by the UDN yesterday that Soong had told him unequivocally earlier this year that he would not run for president and the PFP would give Shih some sort of support. Shih criticized Soong as “a politician who cares only about prices, not honesty.” Soong explained that he did not have any plans to run when he talked with Shih.
In response to suggestions that he has run too many times after the announcement of his fourth presidential campaign, Soong said that U.S. President Abraham Lincoln ran many times for office. He said that his campaign strategy this time is to enhance communication with young voters to let them understand more about James Soong the person, not James Soong the governor of Taiwan Province. Soong’s tenure as governor from 1994 to 1998 until the streamlining of the provincial government is well-remembered by some older voters.