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June 30, 2017

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Cabinet denies Jiang may seek presidency

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Executive Yuan Spokesman Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) denied media speculation yesterday that Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) would seek the presidency, saying Jiang has never thought about running for office and noting that he currently only thinks about carrying out the Cabinet's policies.

On Monday, local media reported that because Vice President Wu Den-yih's (吳敦義) approval rating is not high and President Ma Ying-jeou reportedly does not fully trust Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) or New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), Ma intends to push Jiang to seek the Kuomintang (KMT) nomination in the 2016 presidential election.

In response, Sun said the premier has said very clearly that he has no plan to participate in any elections, stressing that the speculation is baseless.

Instead of offering a direct answer when asked about the speculation, New Taipei Mayor Chu, who is seen as a potential 2016 presidential candidate, said that there are rumors and speculation every day, and people only support the central or local governments when they do their jobs properly.

Regarding the question of when Chu might announce whether or not he will run for a second term as mayor, Chu said an incumbent mayor should focus on city affairs and meet citizens' expectations.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) commented on the speculation, saying that he is not surprised Ma would choose Jiang as his successor.

Tsai went on to say that it is also not surprising that Ma would not trust Hau, Chu or Wu, as they all have previously made comments contrary to Ma's opinions on various issues. Tsai said, on the other hand, that Jiang has been carrying out policies in accordance with Ma's wishes.

In addition, Tsai said that since Ma took office five years ago, Jiang has been promoted from minister of the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission to minister of the Interior to vice premier to premier, noting that Ma's plan regarding Jiang's political career is obvious.

KMT Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) said that if Jiang aims to run in the 2016 presidential election, then he had better work harder to propose good policies and closely supervise government ministries.

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