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Ma denies asking tycoon Lin to be running mate, but doesn't rule out possibility

Kuomintang presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday denied extending an invitation to business guru Jason Lin to join his election ticket, but acknowledged he is looking at academic and commerce circles for a possible running mate.
According to local news outlets yesterday, the KMT is expected to recommend Lin to join Ma's presidential ticket after Ma's original choice, Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-lyng shot down his offer on Thursday.
Lin brought 7-11 and the Starbucks coffee franchise to Taiwan as the chief executive officer of local food giant Uni-President Enterprises Corp., and has established strong business credibility on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. Those close to him reveal that Lin also has a keen interest in politics.
The Tainan native is also seen as a favorite among some Ma's supporters because of his close connections with the southern part of the island, which leans more towards pan-green than the north.
Many believe the economics whiz, with his expertise in business and his southern Taiwan links, is the ideal right-hand man for Ma in boosting Taiwan's waning competitiveness and narrowing the ideological gaps between the north and south.
As of yesterday afternoon, Lin refrained from commenting on the rumor and said he has not received a formal invitation from Ma.
So far, Ma is sticking to the story that a Ma-Lin ticket is merely a suggestion from eager supporters, not an official alliance.
"I won't rule out teaming up with people outside the political realm. I am willing to work with anyone who complements me and is enthusiastic about achieving a better Taiwan," said the candidate.
Other names have been tossed into the ring, such as former Premier Hsiao Wang-chang and current Legislator Lee Jih-chu. Rumor has it that the shortlist of candidates also includes some pan-green individuals.
Wang's refusal to play second fiddle to Ma appeared to be a disappointment to many pan-blue legislators. Some even proposed launching a petition to force the union, while others suggested giving Wang more time to contemplate the decision.
Speaking to reporters, Wang said his final decision has been made and that he wants time to relax to prepare for the next legislative session. Ma also said he would promptly seek another running mate.

Updated : 2021-05-14 10:42 GMT+08:00