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September 21, 2017

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No plan to run for Taipei mayor: vice premier

Vice Premier Jiang Yi-huah yesterday denied that he has plans to run for Taipei mayor, saying he has never had any wish to enter any election.

Speculation on his possible ambition for the capital city's top post has emerged after news came that the vice premier was ready to reactivate his party membership with the ruling Kuomintang (KMT).

Jiang confirmed that he will find time this week to complete the application for resuming his KMT membership, but dismissed the speculation that he is President Ma Ying-jeou's favorite candidate to succeed incumbent Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin in 2014.

"I do not have any thought or plan to participate in any election," he said.

He cited Ma as stressing that the KMT has rules for all nomination processes without any pre-arranged candidates.

Mayor Hau responded to Jiang's upcoming return to the ruling party by saying that it would help promote the KMT's policies.

The KMT mayor, who is set to leave office after completing his second term in 2014, dismissed the idea of a pre-arranged candidate for the campaign.

He said the KMT runs a democratic nomination process where all potential candidates must first declare their intentions and then go through the primary.

KMT New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu said the party welcomes any capable person to become its member.

Sean Lien, a member of the KMT's Central Standing Committee, declined to comment on speculation that Jiang may run for Taipei mayor. Lien is seen as a top contender for the KMT nomination for the Taipei race.

Asked if he has been seeking grassroots support from party members for his bid for the nomination, Lien declined to make comments, saying "at the moment, the most important objective is getting my job done."

Su Tseng-chang, chairman of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party, declined to comment on the KMT's nomination for the 2014 race. But he stressed that his party will field a candidate who can best serve Taipei's citizens.

KMT spokesman Yin Wei said Jiang became a KMT member when he was a university student, but is now "a disconnected member of the party." Jiang asked recently to have his membership reactivated, he added.

Jiang said he had started considering reactivating his KMT membership on Feb. 6 when he became vice premier.

But a host of sensitive issues, such as the ban on U.S. beef imports and increased electricity and fuel prices, had prevented him doing so.

Now that those matters have been dealt with and after careful deliberation, Jiang said he decided to reactivate his membership because as a vice premier, he is responsible for policy formation, which includes explaining the Cabinet's policies to the ruling party and the Legislature.

The vice premier has been serving in government positions as an independent since he was appointed to head the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission in May 2008.

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