Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) yesterday announced that he would not be President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) running mate in next year’s presidential election, adding that it was the “best decision” he could make for the president and the nation.
In an open letter on Facebook, Chen said that by next year he would have completed what he had signed up for when he agreed to join the Tsai administration almost four years ago.
To help the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) remain in power, ensure the survival of Taiwan’s sovereignty and transform the economy, the party needs to unite to give Tsai its support, he said.
It has been a pleasure to take on the responsibility of reform, which has not been an easy path, but the criticism the DPP has faced in the more than three years since it won power were a necessary price to pay for reform, he said.
He entered politics to be the humblest of civil servants, so that Taiwan could become a better nation and people could have better lives, he added.
Chen said he hopes the public would cherish Tsai, who has always been “brave in doing the right thing,” and that the DPP would have the wisdom to make the correct decisions to keep Taiwan a free, democratic, prosperous and strong nation.
Although he would assume a different role, his thoughts would remain with the party, he said, adding that he had informed Tsai of his decision.
Chen’s announcement has reportedly raised anticipation among DPP members of a Tsai-Lai ticket, after former premier William Lai (賴清德) on Monday last week also registered for the party’s presidential primary.
Tsai, who also registered for the party’s primary last week, expressed her gratitude to Chen on Facebook, adding that she was impressed that his decision was made for the sake of party unity.
Several DPP lawmakers yesterday said the party has the best prospect of winning next year’s presidential election with a Tsai-Lai ticket.
DPP Legislator Chen Ming-wen (陳明文) said that Chen Chien-jen’s move paved the way for a Tsai-Lai ticket and applauded his decision at this “critical juncture.”
DPP Legislator Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應) said that a Tsai-Chen Chien-jen ticket is not yet impossible, as the outcome would ultimately depend on the decision of each candidate.
DPP Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) praised Chen Chien-jen’s “selfless” move, saying that it was meant to facilitate coordination among the party’s presidential hopefuls.
However, DPP Legislator Kuo Kuo-wen (郭國文), who has openly expressed his support for Lai, said that Lai is unlikely to drop out of the primary, as he has a strong sense of responsibility and his supporters would not approve of such a move.
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