Vice Premier Jiang Yi-hua (江宜樺) confirmed yesterday that he will reinstate his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) membership, drawing mixed reactions regarding his alleged intention to stand in the Taipei mayoral election in 2014.
Jiang, a former KMT member who did not renew his membership, said he will reinstate his membership next week in response to constant challenges from within the party over his non-KMT identity while being a top government official.
He also denied having any intention to represent the party in the mayoral election.
“Joining the elections is not part of my plan. There are many ways to participate in politics and I’ve never thought about taking part in elections because I don’t think I have what it takes to be a good candidate,” he said.
Speculation about Jiang’s candidacy escalated after President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) publicly praised his performance when meeting with KMT members on several occasions this year.
Local government elections have been a major skirmishing ground for the presidential election and the KMT is slated to start the nomination process by the end of next year.
Former Taipei EasyCard Corp chairman Sean Lien (連勝文), a potential Taipei mayoral candidate, has recently stepped up efforts to meet with local grassroots groups, a move that is seen as a warm-up for his Taipei mayoral candidacy.
Lien, who has repeatedly dismissed his alleged intentions, said Jiang’s renewal of KMT membership is good news for the KMT, while declining to comment on speculation about his own intention to stand in the Taipei mayoral election.
“It is a good thing for any great government official to return to the KMT … I have no comments [on Jiang’s alleged plan to join the election] as long as he is happy, and his superiors are happy about it,” he said yesterday when approached by reporters while attending a KMT forum with party delegates of Taipei and Keelung cities in Taipei.
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday also gave a positive response to Jiang’s renewal of KMT membership.
When asked to comment about party hopefuls for the 2014 Taipei mayoral election, he said the KMT will determine its candidate via the primary mechanism.
KMT Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中), who lost the KMT’s primary to Hau in the last Taipei mayoral election, said as a top government official, Jiang should join the KMT and facilitate cooperation between the party and the government.
KMT Central Standing Committee member Yao Chiang-lin (姚江臨), on the other hand, continued to questioned Jiang’s decision to rejoin the KMT.
“The KMT is not a kitchen that allows him to come and go as he wishes. If he decided to renew his membership this time, he should not abandon the party again,” he said.
Ma, who doubles as KMT chairman, has declined to confirm his alleged endorsement of Jiang.