Ex-premier leaving Taiwan to stay clear of political strife

Former premier and presidential primary challenger William Lai keeping low profile following defeat

William Lai (Facebook photo)

William Lai (Facebook photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Former Premier William Lai (賴清德) is reportedly leaving Taiwan to stay away from political turmoil, following his failed bid to seek the presidential nomination of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in June.

Liberty Times wrote that Lai has kept a low profile since the primary results were announced in June. He has made few public appearances other than attending some local events and participating in a student-group organized sit-in supporting the anti-extradition bill movement in Hong Kong.

Rumors have been rife about whether he would accept the party’s nomination as a legislator-at-large candidate. Such seats are elected through party-list proportional representation.

Also, there is talk about Lai becoming the running mate of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on the presidential ticket for the 2020 election. Tsai beat Lai in the DPP’s presidential primary.

Reports have emerged about the intention of Chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) and Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) to meet with Lai for talks, said Liberty Times. A source close to Lai, however, says none of the options on the table suit Lai’s interests.

The source urged his supporters to give the political veteran some space to determine what role to take in the future, the report said. The source also believes that Tsai should take an active part in engaging with Lai, in the interest of party solidarity.