People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) is likely enter next year's race for Taipei mayor, PFP Vice Chairman Chang Chao-hsiung (張昭雄) said yesterday.
His remarks drew an immediate response from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which said the idea indicated that Soong was desperately trying to keep the PFP alive.
Chang said he has talked about the race with Soong just one.
"With his experience, I think he is a very good choice for Taipei residents," Chang said. "But Soong has not given me a positive response yet."
Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀), director of the PFP's Policy Research Center, confirmed that the idea has been proposed before, but that Soong remains non-committal.
"Things will not be clear until the year-end elections and everything remains under discussion," Chang Hsien-yao said. "It might eventually be helpful for the pan-blue camp's integration in 2006."
Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is not eligible to run for a third term and many in the pan-green and the pan-blue camps have already expressed interest in the job. However, most people appeared shocked at the idea that Soong might run.
Ma looked surprised when asked about the possibility, saying it was the first time he had heard such an idea.
PFP Legislator Diane Lee (
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator John Chiang (蔣孝嚴), who has already announced he will run, said he welcomed Soong's participation, but thought that Soong had better choices.
DPP Secretary-General Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋) said the idea of Soong seeking the Taipei post shows the PFP is in crisis.
"Judging from the fact that the PFP's supporting rate is falling, Soong's running for mayor might be the last struggle for him and the party," Lee said.
"It's hard to see the Taipei mayor's job as part of Soong's career plan, given that he has run for president, vice president and served as Taiwan provincial governor," Lee said.
The DPP isn't worried about Soong running, Lee said, since it is confident of winning the election.
"Ma has done a terrible job over the past seven years, even though Taipei City has the best resources of any city in Taiwan," Lee said.
"I believe that all Taipei residents miss the executive ability shown when President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was mayor," he said.