Former Taipei mayor rules out presidential, VP bid

File Photo: Former Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (C)

TAIPEI - Former Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) said yesterday that he will not run for president or vice president in next year's elections.

Hau made his comments at a dinner meeting with the press yesterday.

Asked whether he would serve as someone's running mate, Hau said that no one had invited him to do so and that he "has no intention" of being anyone's running mate in 2016.

Similarly, KMT Chairman Eric Chu reiterated his decision not to run for president on the same day, but welcomed news reports that former Health Minister Yaung Chih-liang is considering a presidential bid.

Chu, also New Taipei City mayor, once again ruled out a 2016 bid at a meeting of the New Taipei City Council.

He also reiterated his promise to serve out the remainder of his mayoral term, which will expire on Dec. 25, 2018.

He said that when he had originally announced his bid for the KMT chairmanship in December 2014, he explicitly ruled out participating in the 2016 presidential race.

Following reports that Yaung will register for the party's presidential primary, Chu said that as KMT chairman, he encourages all talented KMT members to participate in the race.

Another former health minister, Yeh Ching-chuan, said he was not surprised by news of Yaung's presidential bid, but added that he will also not take part in the party's primary; instead he may consider a run as an independent.

Former Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Lo Chih-chiang, now a freelance writer, suggested in an op-ed piece that if Chu has definitely ruled out a presidential bid next year, the KMT should encourage popular Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je to participate in the race.

Chu is set to lead a delegation to a forum between the KMT and the mainland's Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Shanghai on May 3.

He is expected to meet with mainland leader Xi Jinping in Beijing the following day.

Chu said that he will give a briefing on the meeting after details have been agreed upon with Xi.

However, he refused to comment on a China Times report published that day, which claimed that during the upcoming Chu-Xi meeting, Chu will unveil a new cross-Taiwan Strait policy under which the two sides will "go beyond" adherence to the "1992 Consensus," a substantial move past simply reaffirming his party's adherence to it.

The "1992 Consensus" is an understanding between the Republic of China and the mainland authorities.

Both sides agree that there is only one China, but both sides are free to interpret what that means for themselves.