Fri, Dec 20, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Taichung mayor to push for younger president, leaders

STAFF WRITER

Taichung City Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) said yesterday that he had been approached by several politicians from across party lines to push for a takeover by a younger generation of politicians in the 2004 presidential election, according to a Chinese-language newspaper.

Though the 54-year-old KMT mayor declined to name those politicians, Hu was quoted as saying that the nomination of the presidential and vice presidential candidates should be based on the considerations of whether they are able to win and lead Taiwan through the present difficulties, rather than just having a generational takeover for the sake of it.

Hu added that, according to the concerns expressed by those politicians, it is trendy to have cross-party cooperation among younger politicians, who have a cleaner image.

Asked whether a name list for the presidential and vice presidential candidates were raised and discussed, Hu said, "I can't answer this question."

But Hu said nobody had ever pushed him to bid for the next presidency, and even if he had been pushed, he would refuse.

"Taichung is definitely my political final stop," said Hu, who added that he would neither run for the presidency nor campaign for any presidential candidates.

Hu revealed that over the past three months, politicians across the political spectrum from Taipei and Taichung, including independent politicians, had exchanged opinions with him on a possible cross-party ticket representing the younger generation for the 2004 presidential election, though he declined to confirm if any specific candidates had ever been mentioned.

Meanwhile, Hu, who suffers from high blood pressure, announced he would go on a 20-day sick leave until next January, as his doctor had advised him to rest as much as possible.

Speculation mounted recently that younger politicians in the KMT have been pushing for a 2004 presidential ticket of younger candidates.

Earlier this month, Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), KMT legislator and a former Kaohsiung mayor, was reportedly pushing for a Ma-Wu ticket after the KMT star, Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), won the Taipei mayoral election with a landslide victory.

Wu, however, later dismissed the allegations.

Ma is 52 years old and Wu will soon be 55, while KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) is 66 and PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) is 60.

In related news, Lien yesterday reportedly ruled out a possible Lien-Ma ticket for the 2004 presidential election.

As Lien had said that a KMT-KMT ticket wold be no good in an interview published by a Chinese-language newspaper yesterday, he was further asked by the media later yesterday if it meant a Lien-Ma ticket had been ruled out. Lien reportedly nodded his head.

When asked if a KMT-PFP ticket was better, Lien's said "yes."

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