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PFP leader James Soong explores Taiwan presidential bid

Party one of only four able to nominate presidential candidate without endorsements from public

PFP Chairman James Soong.

PFP Chairman James Soong. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) is exploring the possibility of launching a presidential ticket for the fourth time, reports said Saturday (Nov. 2).

Only four political parties are currently eligible to nominate a candidate for the January 11, 2020 election without having to collect 280,384 signatures from the public, a threshold which no candidate succeeded in meeting by the deadline on Saturday.

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) named incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to run for a second and final term, and the main opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT) chose Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜). The smaller New Power Party (NPP) decided to focus on the legislative elections instead, leaving the PFP as the only group still holding an “entrance ticket” to the presidential race.

Soong, 77, was considering another bid and had met with influential economics commentator and publicist Hsieh Chin-ho (謝金河), CNA reported Saturday. The media hinted that the veteran politician might have invited Hsieh to serve as his running mate, though a PFP official said he might have just asked the executive director of Wealth Magazine for advice on the economy.

The two, who had attended two APEC summits together, were friends, the official said.

Before the reports about a prospective Soong bid, the PFP was said to be considering helping former Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) or Foxconn Technology founder Terry Gou (郭台銘) secure an “entrance ticket” to the presidential race.

Soong ran for president as an independent in 2000 and for vice president on a ticket with KMT candidate Lien Chan (連戰) in 2004. He ran for president again in 2012 and 2016.