Speaker’s future unclear after ruling out election bid


TAIPEI–Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng said yesterday he will not run for a regional seat in the next legislative elections, only intensifying speculation over his next move.

“After listening to opinions expressed by many townspeople during the Lunar New Year holiday, I have come to the decision not to run for a regional legislative seat in my hometown later this year,” Wang told reporters before attending a Legislative Yuan New Year’s gathering.

Wang is serving his second term as a legislator-at-large appointed by the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), but because the party imposes a two-term limit on such lawmakers, Wang would have to win an election in a regional constituency or the KMT would have to change its rules for him to remain in the lawmaking body.

Wang’s next career move has been closely watched since before the Lunar New Year holiday.

He said last month that he would not announce whether he would run for a legislative seat in his electoral district in the southern city of Kaohsiung until after consulting with his supporters there.

“Most of my grassroots supporters did not want me to throw my hat into the regional legislative race. That’s the conclusion,” Wang said.

As to his next move, Wang said he needed more time to figure it out.

Asked about a United Daily News report on Tuesday that said Wang had ruled out the option to run for the presidency in 2012, the veteran politician described it as the interpretation of the reporter and said he would not comment on it.

In 2005, Wang ran for the KMT chairmanship against then-Taipei Mayor Ma Ying jeou in a hotly contested race. Ma won the battle but resigned from the KMT leadership post in 2007 after he was indicted on charges of misusing public funds. He was later found not guilty of the charges, and, after being elected president in 2008, he was elected as KMT chairman again in 2009.