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James Soong says poll a good start for him

James Soong says poll a good start for him

Taipei, Aug. 7 (CNA) James Soong (???), chairman of Taiwan's minority People First Party, said Friday that it is good to see the latest public opinion poll on the 2016 presidential election placing him in second place in a three-way race. Soong, in an interview with a local radio station, was referring to the poll conducted by the United Daily News (UDN), a local newspaper, which showed that his announcement to throw his hat into the ring a day earlier has hurt both candidates from the ruling and the major opposition parties. The UDN poll showed that Tsai Ing-wen (???) of the Democratic Progressive Party has the support of 36 percent of the voters, while Soong has 24 percent and Hung Hsiu-chu (???) of the ruling Kuomintang party has 17 percent. Before Soong's announcement, Tsai was ahead of Hung by a margin of 20 percentage points, the poll said. Soong noted that previously the support for him and Hung combined could not surpass Tsai, and that Tsai still enjoys a comfortable lead if the poll were to take place today. "But this is a good start," the 73-year-old Soong said, adding that he will again take his grassroots campaign around the island to broaden his support base. He also said that the latest public opinion poll showed that "Tsai no longer enjoys an absolute majority," and that his participation in the race will give Taiwan "another option." Asked if he and Hung could use public opinion polls to decide on a candidate to represent the "pan-blue camp" to run in the race to boost chances of winning, instead of splitting the votes of the two factions to benefit Tsai, he said that it is not his purpose to confront the DDP, but to let Taiwan voters to have a better choice. "If the KMT has thought it through and comes to me, I'll give you an answer," he said. Soong said that joining forces with the KMT to form a pan-blue camp to rival the pan-green camp headed by Tsai's DPP does not conform to his campaign, which according to him is to rise above political confrontation and to find a "roadmap for Taiwan's future." On his running mate, Soong said that he will exchange views with the public and make a final decision at the end of October. Asked if he would consider Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (???) and former DPP Chairman Shih Ming-teh (???) to serve as his deputy, he only said that he would consider all options to form the best ticket. It was Soong's third presidential bid after running unsuccessfully in 2000 as an independent and in 2012 as PFP chief. The charismatic former governor of Taiwan received 36.84 percent and 2.76 percent of the votes, respectively, in those two elections. In 2004, he was then-KMT Chairman Lien Chan's vice presidential candidate, when they collected 49.89 percent of the votes, only to be beaten by incumbent Chen Shui-bian with 50.11 percent in an election marred by a shooting incident on the eve of the poll. (By Tai Ya-chen, Jay Chen and Lilian Wu)


Updated : 2021-09-24 11:44 GMT+08:00