Former vice premier Wu Rong-i (吳榮義) yesterday confirmed he would enter the May 27 election for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson, saying he would transform the party with his rich experience and well-thought-out ideas if elected.
Wu, 72, became the second candidate to announce a bid, after former Tainan County commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智). He is set to make a formal announcement in a press conference on Sunday.
Other potential candidates include former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who is expected to throw his hat into the ring next week, and former DPP legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮).
“I believe I am the best candidate for the job,” said Wu, who currently serves as president of the Taiwan Brain Trust think tank.
Wu said he was confident of his expertise on a wide range of issues which have been seen as the DPP’s Achilles heel, such as cross-strait relations, Taiwan-US relations and the economy.
With an economics doctorate from the University of Leuven, Belgium, Wu served as a consultant for the Taiwanese delegation at APEC between 1993 and 2004 and he has been president of the Taiwan Stock Exchange.
Wu said he was also familiar with national and international affairs as the think tank has published 32 white papers on various issues since 2008.
The experience of traveling to hundreds of local townships in a series of grassroots campaigns organized by the Taiwan Rescue Action Alliance over the past years has also helped him to understand better what people want, Wu said, which would be a plus for him as he wants to reconnect the DPP with the public if he is elected next month.
Wu denied his entry in the race was an “anti-Su [Tseng-chang]” move against the former premier, who is seen by some political observers and DPP members as the strongest candidate.
“The most important thing in the election is which candidate is able to present a complete set of policies to transform the DPP after the loss in the presidential election this year, and to rebuild people’s trust in the party,” he said.
Wu said that he would deal with party affairs fairly since he is not affiliated with any party faction.
Asked about a possible presidential pardon for former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who is serving a 17-and-a-half-year sentence for corruption, Wu said Chen should at least be granted a release on medical grounds.
“The only person who can grant an amnesty is President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九). Ma has to realize that a lot of Taiwanese have special feelings about Chen, and, at the end of the day, Chen is a former president,” Wu said.