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Central bank chief not interested in presidential bid: agency

2015/04/25 18:34:09

Taipei, April 25 (CNA) Speculation has emerged that the Kuomintang (KMT) is trying to get Perng Fai-nan (彭淮南), the head of Taiwan's central bank, to represent the party in the 2016 presidential race, but the central bank seemingly dashed those rumors on Saturday.

The Central Bank of the Republic of China (CBC) said in a statement that Perng declared categorically at a legislative hearing on March 10, 2011 that "central bank governor will be my last public office."

The statement was responding to an exclusive by the United Daily News that said Perng was the "ace up the sleeve of KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫)."

Chu has met Perng several times recently to exchange views on the 2016 presidential election, the report said citing KMT sources, and Chu again prodded Perng to accept the invitation to run for president during a meeting this week.

Perng, who has been given an "A" rating as a central bank governor 11 times by New York-based Global Finance magazine, has a very good reputation, is highly professional, and is seen as somebody who transcends partisan politics, the KMT sources were cited as saying.

Chu, who is also the mayor of New Taipei, dismissed the report Saturday, saying, "I don't know why there is this kind of rumor."

Describing Perng as his teacher and a good friend and someone he highly respects, Chu said he often solicits Perng's advice.

Asked if Perng would be his ideal candidate, Chu would only say that people can register for the KMT primary until May 16 and that it would not be appropriate for him as party chairman to express his views before the deadline.

Although Chu is widely seen as having the best chance in a race against Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), the presidential candidate of the Democratic Progressive Party, he has said repeatedly that he will serve out his four-year term as the New Taipei mayor.

Perng, a member of the KMT, is highly respected in both his own party and the DPP. Tsai asked him to serve as her running mate in the 2012 presidential election, but he declined.

When President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was preparing his re-election bid in 2012, he also asked Perng about his interest in a spot on the presidential ticket.

After the KMT suffered a huge defeat in local elections on Nov. 29, 2014, leading to the resignation of Jiang Yi-huah as premier and Ma as KMT party chairman, many legislators suggested that Ma nominate Perng to form a new Cabinet.

Perng has always insisted, however, on remaining in his post as head of the central bank.

The Ma administration's low approval ratings and last November's defeat have left the KMT as a big underdog ahead of the January 2016 presidential and legislative elections, and the party's biggest names have been reluctant to run.

Only two people have declared their intention to participate in the party's presidential primary -- Vice Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) and former Health Minister Yaung Chih-liang (楊志良).

Other potential aspirants, according to media reports, include Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and former Interior Minister Lee Hung-yuan (李鴻源).

(By Pan Chih-yi, Justin Su and Lilian Wu)