Taipei, Dec. 26 (CNA) Wu'er Kaixi, a former Chinese pro-democracy dissident, announced in a surprise move Friday that he is dropping his bid to win a seat in the Legislature through a by-election but will run in the legislative elections in 2016.
The by-election in Taichung was made necessary after the legislative seat held by Taichung mayoral candidate Lin Chia-lung was vacated after Lin resigned just days before the election on Nov. 29. He then proceeded to win and was sworn in as mayor Thursday.
Wu'er Kaixi announced his by-election bid on Dec. 1.
The leader of the 1989 pro-democracy movement, who is now 46, said in a statement posted on his Facebook page that he decided to withdraw from the by-election after discussing it with his campaign team.
He said he wanted to run because he could contribute to dealing with what he sees as the biggest challenges facing Taiwan -- deepening democracy and cross-Taiwan Strait ties.
But he felt the short campaigning time for the by-election and the little more than a year in office he would have before the next elections if he were to win would not give him enough time to realize his goals, he said in his post.
He therefore changed his mind and decided to run for a legislative seat in the 2016 elections, which would give him a four-year term if elected, he said.
On the issue of democracy, he said he supports an expansion of civil participation that will allow civic groups to thrive.
As for the issue of cross-strait relations, he advocated facing up to the problems and encourage discussion within Taiwan, across the strait and in the international community.
"My special background may make special contributions on the issue," he said.
On whether Taiwanese voters can accept him, Wu'er Kaixi said earlier this month that he has had a Taiwan ID card for 15 years and has never had doubts about being accepted.
In addition to being an exiled dissident who has been accepted by Taiwan, he is the father of two children born in Taiwan and somebody who works and pays taxes here and has donated blood 50 times, he said.
After the bloody crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Beijing, Wu'er Kaixi went into exile in the United States, where he met his Taiwanese wife, Chen Hui-ling, who was studying there.
He now lives in Taichung, a special municipality with eight single-seat districts. Lin became the legislator representing the sixth district in 2012 with 96,685 votes, or 51.78 percent.
(By Elaine Hou and Hau Hsueh-ching)ENDITEM/ls