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Former Taiwan vice president joins race for 2020 presidency

Annette Lu at odds with DPP government on range of issues

Annette Lu (left) and Peng Pai-hsien (CNA photo)

Annette Lu (left) and Peng Pai-hsien (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Former Taiwan Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) announced late Monday night (Sept. 16) that she is entering the 2020 presidential race in a surprising move that complicates the already fierce battle.

Lu said she is seeking the presidency at the recommendation of the Formosa Alliance, with former Nantou magistrate Peng Pai-hsien (彭百顯) as her running mate. According to law, she will have to garner at least 280,384 signatures from the public by Nov. 2 and raise NT$1 million (US$32,020) to qualify as a candidate.

Lu, who served as the country’s vice president between 2000 and 2008, announced her departure from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in May of 2018. Newtalk reported that she has not completed the process of leaving the DPP, but her representing Formosa Alliance in the race has prompted the party to take action to remove her.

Lu has been a vocal critic of Taiwanese politics, having expressed disagreement over the Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) administration’s maneuver to decouple referendums from elections in June.

The politician also castigated the government for its blunder in dealing with the cigarette smuggling case, which involved national security staff and allegedly other high-ranking officials. On Sunday, she provided a detailed account on Facebook of the matter, decrying that it was an “abominable shame on the nation” to have allowed such a crime to be committed in the highest levels of government.

Lu throwing her hat into the ring has rattled the pro-independence pan-green camp. Chen Chih-chung (陳致中), DPP councilor for Kaohsiung City and son of ex-Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), on Monday called on her to reconsider the presidential bid, saying the green camp “can’t afford a split of support from the voters now.”