Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) made a surprise announcement on Thursday that he would run for Taipei mayor next year.
A legislator representing the first electoral district of Taipei, Ting talked of his “determination to run in the mayoral election,” in a text message that warned his constituents of the severity of the approaching Typhoon Soulik.
On his Facebook page, Ting said that under his leadership as mayor, the city government would push for urban renewal to create affordable housing for young people and beautify the city.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who is also the KMT chairman, has said that the party’s candidates for Taipei and four other special municipalities will be decided through opinion polls.
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-pin (郝龍斌) is to step down after two four-year terms.
Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), one of Ma’s trusted lieutenants, is rumored to be another mayoral candidate. Sean Lien (連勝文), son of former vice president Lien Chan (連戰), is also regarded as a potential candidate.
KMT Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元), an outspoken maverick in the KMT legislative caucus and another Taipei mayoral hopeful, made a sarcastic response to Ting’s announcement.
“What’s the hurry?” Tsai wrote on his Facebook page. “A similar announcement has been made several times. Now with a typhoon coming, is it necessary to announce it again?”
Ting stressed the difference between himself and other possible candidates, saying that some saw the mayoralty as nothing more than a stepping stone to the presidency.
Ting said he would be an ideal mayor because it is “my lifetime dream” to give the city of Taipei a new and better look. He said he would not be sidetracked or hamstrung like others who have loftier ambitions. He added that he would hold a press conference next week to officially announce his mayoral bid.