Paroled ex-president eyes comeback in Taiwan's 2020 legislative races

CEC still has to decide whether to accept Chen Shui-bian's application to run as legislator-at-large in January’s elections

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Former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian

Former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian (CNA photo)

Update: The deputy chief of Taiwan's Central Election Commission said at the Legislative Yuan on Thursday (Nov. 21) that anyone who is serving prison sentence will not be allowed to register as a legislative-at-large candidate. The comment is considered to have dashed Chen Shui-bian's hopes, as the paroled ex-president has not yet completed his sentence.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Former President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), now on medical parole, has agreed to be nominated by a newly formed pro-independence party as a legislator-at-large in the Jan. 11 vote.

LTN reported that Chen has accepted an invitation from the Taiwan Action Party Alliance (TAPA) to run as its legislator-at-large in the 2020 elections.

Calling himself a gardener for the party that considers him as its spiritual leader, Chen spoke to his supporters on Wednesday (Nov. 20), when TAPA leaders brought application papers to his residence for signature, asking them to vote for the minor party to help him secure the seat.

Chen was sentenced to 20 years in prison for corruption but was released on medical parole in early 2015. One of the conditions of his parole was his abstention from political activities, though he has been appearing regularly at events organized by his supporters.

The Central Election Commission said on Thursday (Nov. 21) that it would investigate whether Chen is qualified for the nomination.

On Jan. 11, 2020, voters will cast ballots for a presidential ticket, a candidate for a local legislative seat, and a political party list of at-large legislative candidates decided by proportional representation.