The “disappearance” from the public eye of Peoples First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong’s (宋楚瑜) running mate, Lin Ruey-shiung (林瑞雄), since Tuesday stems from efforts by the party to give Lin a crash course on the political set-up of the PFP, sources said.
With barely 24 hours between being declared Soong’s potential running mate and his first press conference, Lin’s casual dress and rigid answers on political issues at the press conference raised doubts over his political acumen.
This showed that Lin needed a crash course on political issues, the sources said, pointing to his bungled response to a question on whether he would participate in the election even if Soong failed to collect 1 million signatures as he vowed to do in order to join the presidential race.
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Although Soong chose to remain vague on the matter, Lin took over the microphone and said that if those signatures were not obtained, he would not participate in the election.
PFP officials said on Saturday that aside from managing some personal matters and applying to give up his US citizenship, Lin needed some time to compose himself.
The political arena is foreign to him, PFP officials said.
“He’s suddenly on the election frontline and he doesn’t know what to say,” the officials said. “If he says the wrong thing, then it’s even worse.”
PFP spokesman Wu Kun-yu (吳崑玉) also said on Saturday that for the past two days Lin was taking in a lot of information, including what is said in newspapers, understanding the content of Soong’s recent talks, the ideals of the PFP, the “Second Silent Revolution” thought pattern and the “insides” of the political world.
All of this will prepare him for future talks in public and with the media, Wu said.
The “Second Silent Revolution” is a concept brought up by Soong that calls for thorough reforms to the system of democratic governance adopted by Taiwan.
PFP spokesperson Lee Tung-hao (李桐豪) said Lin has been on the move for the past two days, getting pictures taken for the campaign ads, visiting party headquarters, as well as showing up at some small events to explain his views on Taiwan’s future and development.
With limited campaign resources and because Soong wanted a different kind of election, the PFP’s election campaign would not be the same as before, Wu said, adding that they would not necessarily flight commercial film ads or distribute pamphlets.
“We will look for the proper time to share our ideals with the public and we will try to have in-depth dialogue with the various sectors, through petition-signing events and other talks and policy-explanation events, before Lin and Soong register as candidates,” Wu said.
“The PFP does not have the money to hold campaign events and even if we did, we would not,” Wu said.
Netizen supporters of Soong have placed his profile picture over the original face on the Seediq Bale promotional poster, hoping to spread word of Soong’s petition efforts.
Translated by Jake Chung, Staff Writer
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