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KMT chairman again rules out bid for presidency

2015/04/22 18:42:55

Taipei, April 22 (CNA) Ruling Kuomintang (KMT, 國民黨) Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), reiterated Wednesday that he will not run for president next year, but reacted positively to news reports that former Health Minister Yaung Chih-liang (楊志良) is interested in running.

Chu, who doubles as New Taipei City mayor, pointed out during a meeting of the New Taipei City Council that he has said on several occasions that he will not run in the 2016 presidential election.

In a report at the New Taipei City Council March 31, he also reiterated his promise to serve out his mayoral term, which will expire on Dec. 25, 2018.

Chu noted that when he announced his bid for the KMT chairmanship Dec. 12, 2014, he said he will not participate in the 2016 presidential race.

Regarding reports that Yaung will pick up an application form to register for the party's presidential primary, Chu said that as KMT chairman, he encourages talented KMT members to participate in the race.

Another former health minister, Yeh Ching-chuan (葉金川), said he was not surprised by Yaung's alleged presidential bid and added that he will not pick up a KMT application form, as he might run as an independent.

Former Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強), who is a freelance writer, suggested in an op-ed piece published Wednesday that if Chu has made certain he will not run for the presidency, the KMT should encourage popular Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) to participate in the race.

Chu is set to lead a delegation to attend a forum between the KMT and the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Shanghai May 3 and will meet CPC General Secretary Xi Jinping (習近平) in Beijing the following day.

The KMT chairman said that after details of the meeting with Xi are finalized, he will give a briefing on the issue.

However, he refused to comment on a China Times report published that day that during the upcoming Chu-Xi meeting, in addition to reaffirming his party's adherence to the 1992 consensus and the concept of "one China, respective interpretations," Chu will unveil a new cross-Taiwan Strait policy under which the two sides should "go beyond" adherence to the consensus.

(Justin Su, Chen Ching-fang and Evelyn Kao)
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