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Taoyuan mayor hints at Taiwan presidential bid

Cheng Wen-tsang likely to be running against Vice President Lai in 2024 presidential election

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Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsang (Facebook, Cheng Wen-tsang photo)

Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsang (Facebook, Cheng Wen-tsang photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has suggested that he is planning to join the next presidential race.

When discussing a potential 2024 run, the veteran politician said during a TV interview on Saturday (Oct. 17) that “I won't say I’ll just sit there and do nothing,” reported Newtalk. For one who has previously dodged the topic, this remark appears to be the clearest indication so far of his future ambitions.

Cheng, 53, is seen as the favored successor to incumbent Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) by Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who has on multiple occasions publicly expressed support for the mayor’s presidential bid. Last month, while inspecting the progress of Taoyuan’s underground rail network, Su joked that Cheng must speed up construction before “he has completed his stint as Taiwanese president,” wrote Up Media.

Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德), who fought a bitter battle against Tsai during the 2020 presidential primary, is also likely to throw his hat into the ring. While remaining equivocal about a potential campaign, Lai on Sunday (Oct. 18) smiled to a fan who voiced support for him in the 2024 elections.

Citing political insiders, UDN wrote that Cheng bears some semblance to former Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) in his administrative style, which is characterized by backing major projects and peeling off rivals’ grassroots supporters. Lai, who has secured a position in the country’s top leadership, has been seen making public appearances around central and southern Taiwan since becoming vice president, a move interpreted by some as an attempt to gain momentum in the run-up to the 2024 election.