Saying that he was registering under the encouragement of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰), Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) formally signed up for the party's chairmanship election yesterday.
Accompanied by supporters holding posters reading "Wang Jin-pyng is the most capable," Wang went to KMT headquarters in Taipei yesterday morning to register for the July 16 election.
His registration came as a something of a surprise, given his long-standing position that he would not formally enter the race until it was clear that Lien would not run for another term.
Wang said he had changed his mind on Monday after talking briefly to Lien at party headquarters while Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (
"Chairman Lien used a firm tone of voice to encourage me to enter the chairmanship election. While he did not clearly say that he will not enter the election, it was his encouragement that convinced me to enter," Wang told reporters yesterday.
Today is the last day to register as a candidate.
Wang said that he anticipates a "gentlemanly competition" between himself and Ma and that he and Ma will cooperate to enlarge the KMT's support base.
To register his candidacy, Wang submitted a petition with the signatures of more than 100,000 KMT members.
Party bylaws stipulate that the signatures of just 3 percent of the KMT's members are necessary to enter the chairmanship election.
However, both the Wang and Ma camps have competed in recent weeks to collect the greatest number of signatures.
While Ma had 82,000 signatures on his petition at the time of his registration on Monday, his campaign office released a notice yesterday afternoon that the figure had climbed to more than 110,000.