Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) yesterday said that a qualification people should consider if he were to run for mayor of Taipei is whether he has properly controlled local COVID-19 outbreaks.
Chen made the remark on the sidelines of a news conference held by the Taiwan Public Health Association in Taipei.
Chen has been rumored as a possible candidate for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the Taipei mayoral election later this year.
Photo copied by Hsieh Chun-lin, Taipei Times
Chen has previously dismissed speculation about his interest in running for mayor by saying he is only focused on bringing the local COVID-19 situation under control, given his role as the head of the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said on Thursday that Chen should resign as head of the center if he intends to run for mayor of Taipei.
When asked on Friday to respond, Chen did not reject the speculation.
“It’s quite complicated, but if I am able to run in an election, I will definitely resign with no doubt,” he said.
When asked yesterday if the remark meant that he is waiting for President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who is the DPP chairperson, to approve, Chen said: “My current duties are disease prevention and public health administration, and I would only become qualified for candidacy if I can appropriately handle these duties.”
Asked if he feels qualified to run for mayor, Chen said he is waiting to “see the light” indicating the end of the pandemic, adding that “March is still too early to see the light.”
Asked if he would run for mayor of Taipei if people feel “reassured,” Chen nodded his head twice before smiling and calling the question a “trap.”
There are many factors that need consideration before making a decision, and keeping the local COVID-19 situation under control is a basic qualification, he said.
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