Veteran political activist Shih Ming-te (施明德) yesterday said that People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) would not run in next year’s presidential election as a candidate, but that it is “not entirely impossible” that Soong would be his running mate.
Shih made the statement in an interview with HitFM radio show host Clara Chou (周玉蔻).
“When I told Soong that I would run for president [during a meeting], he said he has no desire to run for president,” Shih said. “He is not the kind of person who calculates political gains all the time, he has got his own plans.”
Shih said he met with Soong again about a week before he made his own presidential bid public.
“We reached a mutual agreement that we would keep the door of cooperation open for each other,” he said.
Shih said he had been asked by “someone” to run as Soong’s campaign mate, but he rejected the offer because at the time, “he was a representative of the authoritarian regime, but I was someone from the resistance. If I agreed to the idea, it would be a surrender, not a reconciliation — only when Soong becomes my running mate would it be a reconciliation.”
When first asked if Soong would be willing to become his running mate, Shih answered “no.” However, when pushed about “the possibility of a Shih-Soong campaign,” Shih said: “Of course not; you’re trying to trick me into saying it.”
While complimentary toward Soong, Shih had harsh words for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
“I would be frightened if Tsai gets elected, not because she is a woman but because she is simply not qualified,” Shih said.
Shih said Tsai does not put the interests of the public first.
“Immediately after her DPP nomination, Tsai visited business leaders, and said employees in Taiwan have too many holidays,” Shih said. “If you want me to say what I don’t like about Tsai, I could talk for more than two hours.”
Asked whether he would grant amnesty to former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), he said the power is not in his hands, it is in Chen’s.
“He has never confessed what he did; if he does, a lot of people would let it go,” Shih said.
Commenting on the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) possible presidential candidate, Shih said that Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) might have the best prospects of the mooted candidates.
“If [KMT Chairman] Eric Chu (朱立倫) wanted to run, he would not have gone to China, because it would be said he had gone there to have his bid ‘authorized’ by Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平),” Shih said.
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