Taipei, March 29 (CNA) Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) announced Friday that he will not team up with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to vie for a second term, and he urged solidarity in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as the 2020 presidential election approaches.
"I've personally told President Tsai that I hope to end my mission next year," Chen wrote in announcing his decision in an open letter posted on his Facebook page.
"This is the best decision that I could make for her and Taiwan," Chen said. It will "allow her to cement unity within the party and form the best ticket to secure victory in the 2020 presidential election."
Chen praised Tsai for launching reforms and initiating several forward-looking social and economic projects to upgrade Taiwan's industrial base and promote innovation while having the courage to take the backlash for those new policies.
"We have walked the right path over the past few years," he said. "Although success will not be achieved overnight, we are moving toward our ultimate goals step by step."
Later the same day, Chen said "I'm not a DPP member, but I do care about the party, because the DPP is the key force safeguarding Taiwan's democracy and freedom" when attending the celebration of the 95th anniversary of the Central News Agency.
He urged solidarity among all DPP members under Tsai's leadership so that she can form the strongest ticket possible for a second term.
Asked who would make up the best presidential ticket to represent the DPP, Chen said that was a decision for the president to make and that all parties concerned should respect any outcome that occurs.
There is no guarantee that Tsai, who continues to lag well behind potential opponents in opinion polls, will represent the DPP in the January 2020 election.
She is being challenged from within her party for the DPP nomination by former Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德).
That has given rise to concerns among many DPP members that a fierce Tsai-Lai competition could split the party and lead to defeat in the 2020 presidential race.
The DPP will try to hammer out a compromise internally to rally around one nominee and present a united front, but if those efforts fail, the party will hold a series of opinion polls in mid-April to determine its presidential nominee.
The results of the DPP's primary are expected to be ready around April 17.