People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) and his running mate, Lin Ruey-shiung (林瑞雄), have gathered more than 400,000 endorsement signatures for their presidential bid, the Central Election Commission (CEC) announced yesterday, opening the door for a three-way race in the Jan. 14 presidential election.
The commission said Soong and Lin had endorsements from 445,864 eligible voters, surpassing the minimum threshold of 257,695.
The commission said it would issue them an eligibility certificate and return their NT$1 million (US$30,000) deposit.
The commission has processed endorsement applications from six pairs of presidential hopefuls, but the Soong-Lin ticket was the only one to have passed the legal threshold.
The other five pairs did not even muster half the minimum requirement, and will forfeit their deposit money, the commission said.
The Soong campaign has said Soong and Lin would register their candidacies next week.
With the PFP ticket in the race, voters will have a chance to select their next president and vice president from among President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and DPP Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), and Soong and Lin.
Various polls in recent weeks have placed the Soong-Lin ticket a distant third, with about 10 percent of the vote, while Ma and Tsai remain locked in a close race.