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James Soong taps Hsu Hsin-ying as running mate (update)

2015/11/18 12:17:53

Taipei, Nov. 18 (CNA) James Soong (宋楚瑜), chairman and presidential candidate of the People First Party, said Wednesday that he chose Minkuotang ((民國黨) Chairwoman Hsu Hsin-ying (徐欣瑩) as his running mate with a coalition government in mind.

"I chose Hsu because I want to form a coalition government," Soong said. "This is not for the interests of one party or one people, but to really put aside partisan struggles and find our common ideals again."

Soong, flanked by PFP Secretary-General Chin Chin-sheng (秦金生), former Interior Minister Lee Hung-yuan (李鴻源) and PFP legislator Lee Tung-hao (李桐豪), made the announcement at a news conference.

The Democratic Progressive Party and the Kuomintang have been in power for 16 years, and Taiwan has given them a chance to "experiment," but they have let the public down.

All changes have to start with oneself, said Soong, adding that one had to put aside one's ego and not dwell on trivial matters so that more people could unite to work for Taiwan.

"Cooperation is not a merger. There's no need to crush oneself to accommodate others," Soong said, adding that there can be a division of labor and sharing of tasks to accomplish a very important goal, which is to "find Taiwan's confidence and pride again."

Soong pledged to form a grand coalition government and will ask Lee Hung-yuan to be responsible for its preparations, serving in essence as the convener of a shadow cabinet.

The 43-year-old Hsu was elected as a legislator in Hsinchu County in 2012 as a member of the Kuomintang (KMT) but announced her withdrawal from the party earlier this year to found the Minkuotang in March.

At the time, she vowed to establish a political party that stresses inter-party cooperation and reforms to build a strong and prosperous country.

Hsu, a native of Xinfeng Township in Hsinchu County, has also served as a member of the KMT's Central Standing Committee and the Hsinchu County Council.

She was the first Hsinchu County councilor to have a Ph.D., which she got from National Chiao Tung University. Her area of expertise is satellite surveying.

Hsu said she was surprised to be tapped for the position, saying that politicians today have no tolerance for cooperating with others and only consider their self interests.

But she said she was inspired by Soong's appeal: "The goal we're striving for is for Taiwan, not political parties. Only through compromise can we have the biggest harvest."

Hsu said Taiwan can no longer be a guinea pig and should have a seasoned leader, adding that if Soong is elected, Taiwan will become very prosperous.

Soong, who was a heavyweight in the KMT before making an unsuccessful bid for president in 2000 and forming the PFP after that, is given little chance in the upcoming race.

He is up against Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) -- currently seen as a virtual shoo-in to win -- and the KMT's Eric Chu (朱立倫).

(By Lu Hsin-hui and Lilian Wu)
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