《TAIPEI TIMES》 James Soong joins presidential race
People First Party Chairman James Soong raises his fist at a news conference in Taipei yesterday as he announces his candidacy in the presidential election on Jan. 11, with former United Communications Group chairwoman Sandra Yu as his running mate. Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
‘ENDGAME’: It would be the sixth time he has participated in a major election, the PFP chairman said, adding that Taiwanese need to have more faith in themselves
By Chen Chun and Sherry Hsiao / Staff reporter, with staff writer
People First Party （PFP） Chairman James Soong （宋楚瑜） yesterday announced that he would run in the Jan. 11 presidential election with former United Communications Group chairwoman Sandra Yu （余湘） as his running mate.
“I have been on the election path for a total of 25 years,” Soong told a news conference in Taipei.
“I have participated in five of the Republic of China’s major elections, receiving a total of 17,790,085 votes,” he said.
“Each vote represents approval of [me],” he added, before thanking voters for their support.
Next year’s presidential election would be his “sixth battle,” Soong said.
“At the same time, [the candidacy] is like the title of the movie Endgame,” he said.
He had not considered running for president until the morning of Sept. 17, Soong said.
“The night before, [Hon Hai Precision Industry Co （鴻海） founder] Terry Gou （郭台銘） had announced his withdrawal from the race,” Soong said. “If Gou had not withdrawn, I would not be standing here today.”
He had trouble falling asleep that night, Soong said, adding: “If the people of Taiwan cannot resolve the constraint of the emotional blackmail and threats of national doom of the blue and green, it would be very sad.”
“If there is not a presidential candidate with a global perspective capable of leading us — Taiwan — in fighting our way out of the competition between the three strong nations of the US, China and Japan, it would also be a shame,” he said.
“No one can sell out Taiwan, so we have to have faith in ourselves and even more so in the next generation, because the young generation has even higher standards for freedom and democracy than the previous generation,” he added. “I have prepared for this battle for 44 years.”
“[My] ‘endgame’ is definitely not an alliance of avengers like in the movie, because I recognize that all of the political parties in Taiwan have contributed to this country,” Soong said. “I only wish to help Taiwan’s freedom and democracy open a new chapter.”
TV show host Belle Yu （于美人） is to serve as the spokeswoman for Soong’s campaign, the PFP told the news conference.
If Soong’s candidacy results in the re-election of President Tsai Ing-wen （蔡英文）, “how will [Soong] face [former president] Chiang Ching-kuo （蔣經國）?” the Chinese Nationalist Party （KMT） said in response to Soong’s announcement.
The former president advocated a free and democratic system, Soong said in response.
Soong said that he worked alongside Chiang, who lifted martial law, as well as restrictions on newspapers, adding that no one can challenge his resolve and stance on these matters.
Soong ran as an independent in the 2000 presidential election against then-Democratic Progressive Party （DPP） candidate Chen Shui-bian （陳水扁） and then-vice president Lien Chan （連戰） of the KMT, placing second behind Chen.
In the 2004 presidential election, the PFP cooperated with the KMT, with Lien and Soong running for president and vice president respectively, but lost to Chen and then-vice president Annette Lu （呂秀蓮）.
Soong in 2006 took a leave of absence from the PFP to run as a non-partisan candidate in the Taipei mayoral election and, after losing, announced that he was retiring from politics, but he returned to run as the PFP’s presidential candidate in the 2012 and 2016 elections.
Additional reporting by Diane Baker