Former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) son yesterday withdrew from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and announced he would run for Greater Kaohsiung city councilor as an independent.
Chen Chih-chung (陳致中) declared his intention to run in the year-end elections earlier in the week. His formal announcement yesterday came in the wake of the Taiwan High Court’s ruling on Friday rejecting Chen Shui-bian’s appeal of his conviction on corruption, forgery and money laundering charges. However, sentences and fines were reduced in the second trial for Chen Shui-bian, his wife Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) and six other defendants including Chen Chih-chung.
At a press conference in Kaohsiung City yesterday, Chen Chih-chung said it had not been part of his life plan to run for the position, but he decided to enter the race after his father encouraged him to take on the responsibility.
Chen Chih-chung said the reason he chose to run in Greater Kaohsiung was to honor his father’s campaign promise that he would move to Kaohsiung after he left office.
The junior Chen said he decided to drop out of the DPP because he thought it would be better for party harmony and expand the DPP’s political clout. If elected, he said he would caucus with the DPP and team up with party lawmakers on legislation, adding he would also fully support Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) in her re-election campaign.
He said he was well aware that his opponents would make his wife and relatives the target of political attacks once he starts campaigning. Citing his wife’s car as an example, Chen Chih-chung said it was an eight-year-old second-hand car, but some media reports had portrayed it as a million-dollar vehicle.
Chiang Chih-ming (江志銘), secretary of Chen Shui-bian’s office, attended the press conference and said the former president gave his full support to his son’s election bid.
Chiang said the former president had a “quiet heart” regarding the prospect of his release on bail, and would leave the matter to God.
A hearing originally slated for Friday to deliberate on whether Chen Shui-bian would be granted bail was postponed after the High Court was unable to reach a conclusion. The court said it would decide before June 23 whether to detain him for another two months.
Chiang said the former president was not surprised at the court’s ruling on his alleged corruption cases and thought God seemed to think it was not time for his release. When the time is ripe, he would get out, Chiang quoted Chen Shui-bian as saying.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER
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