TAIPEI, Taiwan - Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu confirmed yesterday that he would not be running for president in the 2016 elections, and that he was expecting talented KMT members to participate actively in the race.
"I won't be running for president in 2016, OK?" Chu was heard telling the media yesterday.
Chu made the remarks after the media asked him if he was considering running for the top spot yesterday. "There is no such thing. My attitude has always been clear, I will do my best as the mayor and finish my term," said Chu, who was also the incumbent mayor of New Taipei.
He was re-elected only last November.
"As for the intraparty nominations for the presidential and legislator elections, (I) would be the referee and the coach, hoping the good and talented people will join the races actively," said Chu.
When asked about Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen's recent announcement to run for president, Chu said that he did not watch Tsai's televised speech and that he would look into it when he had the opportunity.
Tsai's speech was seen to target certain groups in society, including the younger generation of voters.
"We also hope that more talented young people will join the legislator elections this time, so we are scouting for talents in different places, and welcome them to join the KMT," said Chu.
Chu waved away rumours that the KMT would be recruiting "beautiful assassins" to run in the legislator elections, saying that the party would be looking for a variety of people.
Tsai Declines to Comment
Tsai said yesterday that she did not have any comments to offer "at this stage" regarding Chu's remarks.
On a visit to Tainan Mayor William Lai yesterday, Tsai said that Chu's decision not to run for president was "the KMT's private issues," she would be responding only after the ruling party has decided its official candidate.
"What I am doing now is preparing myself, following the current plans and steps leading up to the elections, listening to the people's voices and exchanging opinions with them," said Tsai. Should she be elected in the future, her policies and the information gathered in this period would be at their most efficient.
KMT's Potential Candidate Questions Chu's Remarks
Deputy Legislative Yuan Speaker Hong Hsiu-chu said yesterday that she "did not think Chu's remarks were an official announcement."
"Maybe he was just impatient with all the questions," said Hong, who allegedly wished to run for president.
"When Chu does make a decision, it should be under official and solemn circumstances. This would be more respectful to the media and his supporters ... it doesn't matter if he is running or not, if he speaks the reason, everyone will be able to understand his difficulties," said Hong.
KMT Caucus Hints for Reconsideration
"What Chairman Chu said is his subjective opinion at the moment, but as the chairman of the ruling party, he should consider the objective situation as well," said KMT caucus whip Lai Shyh-bao yesterday.
"Many among the KMT are extremely hopeful that Chu would be fighting this battle," said Lai.
KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng said that the KMT should respect Chu's ultimate decision when the issue is grave. "We know we may be giving him a hard time, but we want to fully extend our support to him without making it difficult," said Wu.