Vice Premier Jiang Yi-hua (江宜樺) yesterday dismissed speculation that he hoped to represent the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) as a candidate in the Taipei City mayoral election in 2014.
Jiang has been widely rumored to be President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) preferred candidate for the party’s nomination for Taipei mayor, as opposed to another possible candidate, Sean Lien (連勝文) — son of former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰), who is reportedly not on good terms with Ma.
“I have never given any thought to [running in an] election,” Jiang said in response to media queries.
Jiang was known as a liberal academic before he entered politics in 2008 when asked by Ma to join his administration as head of the Executive Yuan’s Research, Development and Evaluation Commission. After serving as interior minister, he was promoted to the position of vice premier in January. Jiang said at that time that he would give serious consideration to joining the KMT.
Jiang downplayed media reports suggesting that Ma’s recent praise of him had a political tone because Ma, who doubles as the KMT’s chairman, considers Jiang to be the best choice for the party’s Taipei mayoral candidate.
Ma most recently praised Jiang at a meeting of the KMT’s Central Standing Committee on Wednesday, when Ma commended Jiang, who leads a Cabinet-level price stabilization task force, for his efforts to combat price increases in consumer staples.
Jiang said the media’s interpretation was “far from the truth” because he had just been invited to brief KMT officials on the government policies he oversees, just as other officials had to do.