Former premier William Lai makes bid for Taiwan presidency

He is set to register as DPP candidate this afternoon (Monday, March 18)

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Lai signified his intention to register Monday morning

Lai signified his intention to register Monday morning (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Former premier William Lai (賴清德) launches his campaign to become the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) 2020 presidential candidate today (Monday, March 18).

The DPP opened registration early this morning, according to CNA, and candidates have until Friday, March 22, to register.

Former director of National Cheng Kung University Hospital Chen Jyh-hong (陳志鴻) collected an application form on behalf of Lai this morning. The former premier is set to submit the application in person this afternoon.

Lai stepped down as premier on Jan. 14 following the DPP’s crushing defeat in last year’s nine-in-one elections.

President Tsai Ing-wen confirmed in February that she would stand for re-election despite calls from hardline independence activists within the party to stand down. In an interview with CNN, Tsai said, “It’s natural that any sitting president wants to do more for the country and wants to finish things on his or her agenda.”

If two or more DPP candidates run for president, they will be given a platform to make their cases, following which there will be a national poll to determine who will represent the party in 2020.

The Kuomintang (KMT) may set aside its nomination process, party chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said earlier this month, and directly nominate a candidate to improve the party’s chances of election success.

The former KMT mayor of New Taipei City, Eric Chu (朱立倫), announced his intention to run for president in December. The country’s longest-serving Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), a KMT lawmaker, also announced his candidacy earlier this month.