James Soong re­jects idea of pan-blue coali­tion ticket

The China Post - - LOCAL -

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.

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