TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Ukrainian-born Taiwanese actress and model Larisa Bakurova (瑞莎) was reportedly being considered by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for an at-large legislative seat, but on Monday (Nov. 6) she denied that she had been tapped for public office.
Local media outlets have reported that the 38-year-old naturalized Taiwanese citizen had been considered by the DPP as a possible candidate for an at-large seat in the upcoming 2024 Taiwanese legislative election. However, at noon on Monday, Bakurova took to Instagram to deny that she had received such an invitation and emphasized that her focus was on her family and rhythmic gymnastics students.
Earlier that day, Mirror Media cited sources familiar with the matter as saying that the DPP had placed Bakurova on its list of potential at-large candidates. She was reportedly selected because she would add diversity to the party's ticket.
In addition to being an actress and model, she is a new immigrant who has made many high-profile contributions to Taiwan such as establishing a rhythmic gymnastics association and leading her team to international victories under the Taiwan flag. She was seen as a representative of Taiwan's new immigrant community.
According to the magazine, Bakurova, who was naturalized in 2019, was considered by the DPP as early as 2020 for an at-large legislative run. However, she was reportedly not included on the party's roster due to internal political wrangling.
This year, the momentum to recruit Bakurova reportedly became even stronger. Sources told the magazine, "Larisa has always been a topic of discussion and the discussion has been going on for a long time. However, the distribution of various factions also needs to be considered, and it is difficult to determine until the very last minute."
A major barrier to Bakurova's participation in the 2024 election is the Nationality Act (國籍法), which stipulates that naturalized foreign residents are initially not allowed to hold 10 categories of public office, including serving as a legislator. This restriction can only be lifted after a person has been naturalized for 10 years and therefore, Bakurova technically has several more years before she can hold such a position.
In her Instagram post uploaded on Monday, Bakurova thanked her followers for their concern and denied receiving any inquiries or invitations on the matter.