Taipei, Nov. 2 (CNA) Former Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) announced Saturday that she is pulling out of the 2020 presidential race, citing legal and political constraints as the main factors behind the withdrawal of her bid as an independent candidate.
In a statement, Lu criticized the petition system that independent candidates must follow as being flawed and unconstitutional.
According to the Central Election Commission (CEC), candidates were required to collect 280,384 valid signatures, or 1.5 percent of the electorate in the 2016 legislative elections, by Nov. 2 to qualify as candidates.
They were also required to put up a NT$1 million (US$32,020) deposit.
Prospective candidates who failed to obtain at least half the required number of signatures were to lose their deposits.
The deadline for the submission of petitions was 5:30 p.m. Saturday, and just hours before it arrived, Lu opted not to submit the petitions she had obtained and instead announced her withdrawal from the race.
She did not reveal how many signatures she had collected.
In announcing her decision, Lu described the rule stipulated in the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act requiring signature givers to provide a copy of their identity cards as a serious infringement of personal privacy and therefore unconstitutional.
She also slammed the CEC for not allowing the petition document to include a return address, making it hard for supporters to know where to send their petition after signing it.
Lu, who served as Taiwan's vice president from 2000 to 2008, also took aim at the media and her former party, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), accusing them of destroying democracy by conspiring to promote a "certain candidate" and blocking stories about her.
At the same time, she said her petition stations around Taiwan were subject to threats, verbal abuse, and interference, resulting in fewer signatures collected than anticipated, which is why she ultimately decided against submitting the petitions collected.
The former vice president announced on Sept. 17 that she would be running in the Jan. 11 presidential election as an independent. Lu was expelled from the DPP later that month for her decision to represent the Formosa Alliance to run for president in 2020.