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Wed, Mar 28, 2001 - Page 4 News List

John Chang returns to KMT politics

BACK IN THE GAME Nearly 18 months ago Chang exited politics amidst a sex scandal, now he's back to run against the woman who was his alledged lover in the 1999 episode

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

John Chang (章孝嚴), the former foreign affairs minister and KMT stalwart, yesterday came out of almost one-and-a-half years of political dormancy to throw his hat into the party's primary for the December legislative elections.

His alleged affair with a former TV actress Wang Hsiao-chan (王筱蟬) is bound to dog Chang on the campaign trail, as Wang has long made clear her intention to seek a legislative seat as an independent from the same district.

Flanked by his wife Huang Mei-lun (黃美倫) and physically challenged celebrities, Chang showed up at the KMT's Taipei chapter to register his candidacy at 10am. Scores of supporters stood outside the venue chanting, "Chang, go, go, go."

"I will put in a good fight to win the opportunity to serve the country and the people," Chang said.

In December 1999, Chang stepped down as presidential secretary-general after admitting to an extramarital affair. Regretting the scandal as "the biggest mistake of my life," Chang has since shunned the limelight.

Chang said the respite provided him with an opportunity to get in touch with the grassroots and understand their needs.

Chang, the illegitimate son of the late president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), conceded he is facing drastic competition but said he is optimistic about a victory.

As of yesterday evening, a total of 12 KMT members have applied to place their name on the primary ballot. The largest opposition party is expected to nominate three or four candidates to vie for legislative seats in the southern district of the capital city.

Chang said he believed his political credentials would distinguish him from rivals inside and outside the party. He was a career diplomat and served as Minister of Foreign Affairs between 1996 and 1997 before becoming vice premier and later KMT secretary-general. If elected, Chang said he is will focus on promoting cross-strait ties as well as the welfare of the handicapped.

Wang, his alleged mistress, has opened her campaign headquarters in the same district where Chang is planning his political comeback.

In an interview with a local cable TV station, Wang said a wealthy businessman has promised to finance her venture.

She has flatly denied any romantic involvement with Chang and has pressed a libel suit against a Chinese language newspaper for naming her in the sex scandal.

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