People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) yesterday said he would register with the Central Election Commission next month and launch a petition to collect the required number of signatures for presidential aspirants.
In an interview with ERA TV last night, Soong said he would pick up the petition form at the commission between Sept. 16 and Sept. 20 and start collecting signatures from supporters on Sept. 22. However, he refused to confirm whether this would be an indication that he was “determined” to run for president.
The number of signatures required to qualify for registration as a presidential candidate is 250,000. Soong, 69, said he would not join the election unless he collects at least 1 million signatures.
Photo: Screen grab from ERATV
“If we successfully collected 1 million signatures, and with proper financial support, of course I would consider serving the people and meet their expectations [by running for president],” he said.
“Launching the petition is an indication of my willingness to run for the presidency, as it is part of the procedure to obtain an admission ticket to the presidential election ... It would be a great encouragement for me if we collected 1 million signatures, and it would be more likely that I would join the presidential election,” he said.
PFP spokesman Wu Kun-yu (吳崑玉) said the signature drive would last 45 days, and Soong would make a final decision depending on the result of the signature drive.
Soong, the only elected governor of Taiwan Province from 1994 to 1998, talked about his experience as a governor in handling typhoons and other disasters.
He said the government needed re-engineering to improve its efficiency and called on President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to stop focusing on cross-strait ideology in their election campaigns.
Soong and the PFP were a close ally of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) until conflict between the two parties over election nominations led to a split, which deepened after King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), executive director of Ma’s re-election campaign office, filed a lawsuit against Soong in November last year for accusing King of manipulating the presidential elections by fabricating polls in 2000 and 2004.
King declined to comment on Soong’s potential bid, saying any comments he made could spark disputes and cause misunderstandings.
DPP spokesman Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said his party respected Soong’s decision to run in the presidential race.
Ma and King have no one else to blame but themselves on the division of the pan-blue camp, Chen said.
Additional reporting by Chris Wang
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the
ON THEIR OWN: The KMT has decided not to participate as a party at this year’s forum, and if any members do go, they would not be representing the party, Alicia Wang said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that it would not send a delegation “as a political party” to this year’s Straits Forum, after a Chinese TV program described the planned visit to the annual meeting as “suing for peace.” The 12th forum is scheduled to open in Xiamen, China, on Saturday. On Tuesday last week, the KMT announced that former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) would lead the party’s delegation to the forum, with KMT Secretary-General Lee Chien-lung (李乾龍) as deputy head. However, on Thursday last week, China Central Television’s (CCTV) Yangshipin (央視頻) program, hosted by Li Hong (李紅), included a headline
RIVERSIDE CAMP: As rescuers continued their search for a missing man, Taipower said that the floodgates at a hydro plant on the Lishi Creek opened due to a malfunction Three people have been confirmed dead and one was missing after being swept away by a flash flood while camping in Nantou County’s Renai Township (仁愛), police said yesterday. Six people from two families were camping near Lishi Creek (栗栖溪) when the riverbanks were suddenly flooded just after 4am, carrying away four of the campers — including two children — who were asleep in their tents, police said. A man who was among those swept away was able to climb ashore and call for help, police said, adding that another man had gone missing in the turmoil at the campsite.
WORKING OVERTIME? NTU professor Lee Duu-jong denied that he had held a part-time position at a Chinese university or joined China’s Thousand Talents Program A candidate for the post of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) president yesterday dropped out of the race following a report questioning his links to Chinese academia and government programs. Lee Duu-jong (李篤中), a professor at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) chemical engineering department, was a member of China’s Changjiang Scholars’ Program in 2006 and was on the list of its Thousand Talents Program in 2017, a report by Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine said yesterday. The article said that Lee is suspected of having held a part-time job at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China and was the recipient