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Eric Chu taps former labor head as running mate (update)

2015/11/18 17:06:54

Taipei, Nov. 18 (CNA) Eric Chu (朱立倫), chairman of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) and its presidential candidate, introduced on Wednesday former Labor Minister Wang Ju-hsuan (王如玄) as his running mate in the Jan. 16, 2016 presidential election.

Chu described the 54-year-old Wang as a lawyer who has long fought for the rights of woman, the underprivileged and labor rights, and her efforts have won public recognition.

Wang's background "complemented" his financial and economic experience, Chu said.

Flanked by KMT Vice Chairman Hao Lung-bin (郝龍斌), Vice Chairwoman Huang Min-hui (黃敏惠) and KMT Secretary-General Lee Shu-chuan (李四川) at a news conference, Chu also said that if elected, his "government would focus on the economy and cross-strait peace."

Wang will play a key role as she would help the fruits of the economy be felt by workers and others at the grassroots level, Chu said.

The KMT's presidential candidate also praised Wang for getting into Taipei First Girls High School and studying law at National Taiwan University, Fu Jen Catholic University and Renmin University of China after being raised in Changhua County.

Wang was only 46 when she became labor minister on May 20, 2008, and she worked hard for the rights and interests of workers during her four-year period.

She stepped down as labor minister in September 2012 because the government did not back her plan to raise the minimum wage at the time or her insistence on linking the pay of foreign laborers to the domestic minimum wage.

But Wang has continued to fight for the rights of the underprivileged since then, Chu said.

Wang noted she was a "layman" to election campaigns and that she had mixed feelings when Chu asked her to run.

She said she came forward mainly because there are so many good people in Taiwan, especially those from the labor sector.

Describing running in an election as a daunting challenge, she said any sacrifices she has to make will be worth it because people in Taiwan deserved to be treated better.

"I feel like I have to roll up my sleeves," she said.

All three presidential candidates have now announced their running mates, with the ticket of Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) considered a virtual shoo-in to win, followed by the Chu-Wang ticket.

James Soong (宋楚瑜), the chairman of the People First Party, and his running mate Hsu Hsin-ying (徐欣瑩) are currently at the bottom of the race in most polls.

(By Claudia Liu and Lilian Wu)