Former Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) chief Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) announced yesterday that he had decided to return to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to seek the party's nomination for the Taipei mayoral election.
Hau, a New Party member, resigned as secretary-general of the Red Cross Society in Taiwan on Wednesday to concentrate on the race.
The so-called "four months regulation" -- the KMT's plan to require candidates to have held party membership for at least four months before they can run as a party candidate for a public post -- was the main reason for his decision, Hau said.
"The four-month regulation did prompt me to make the decision, but it was not the main pressure. The real pressure was the endless inquiries from the media about my intentions," he said during a press conference held at the New Party's headquarters.
Several public opinion polls have ranked Hau as the most popular pan-blue candidate for the Taipei mayor's job.
His decision to join the race could be a big challenge for the other possible pan-blue contenders, who include KMT Legislator John Chiang (
At the press conference, the New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (
"Former New Party members such as KMT Legislator Joanna Lei (雷倩) still join our party's events and remain friendly with us ?This is a necessary process for a final merger between the two parties," he said.
While Hau wanted to follow Lei's path and maintain his New Party membership during the campaign, Liao Feng-teh (廖風德), head of the KMT's Organization and Development Committee, said the party did not allow its members to have dual party membership.
KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (
"I welcome all talented people to join the race, but the KMT has its own nomination mechanism, which is for people to join the party first and then participate in the primaries to win the KMT nomination," he said.
Potential pan-blue rivals to Hau differed over his decision to return to the KMT and to enter the Taipei race.
Chiang said that he welcomed and respected Hau's decision to seek the KMT nomination because it was to Taipei's advantage to have many excellent candidates contending for the post.
Chiang emphasized, however, that he has remained loyal to the party for almost 40 years and said that he hoped the party would use a fair and reasonable primary mechanism to pick the most suitable candidate.
KMT Legislator Ting Shou-chung (
PFP Legislator Liu Wen-hsiung (
Independent Legislator Li Ao (