TAIPEI (The China Post) – Former Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) on March 18 registered to seek the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) nomination for the presidential election in 2020, making him the second hopeful in the ruling party’s primary.

Asked about his decision, the former premier said that the DPP is facing “difficult times” during an improvised news conference. He said that the opposition Kuomintang’s (KMT) decision to seek a peace deal with China is “improper” in a time when Chinese leader Xi Jinping continues to “threaten Taiwan.”

Lai expressed hopes that Taiwan would not “end up like Tibet and Hong Kong,” stressing that Taiwan’s sovereignty and democracy will be “in great danger” if the DPP loses to KMT in 2020.

Lai further claimed that he supported Tsai in 2016, but a lot of people have been urging him to step in. After careful consideration, he decided to take his responsibility and joined the primary election.

In the by-election of legislators, the DPP won two seats in New Taipei City and Tainan City. Lai is considered one of the most important supporters behind the newly-elected Tainan legislator Kuo Kuo-wen.

According to various media, Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai or Taoyuan City Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan are potential candidates to join Tsai Ing-wen in her reelection bid. If Tsai picks Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, it might be a liability, in the long run, commentators said.

Based on a recent survey on candidates in the 2020 presidential candidates, the popularity of Tsai remains below other candidates, including Eric Chu and Wang Jin-pyng of the KMT, and Ko Wen-je. Who will join Tsai Ing-wen in her reelection bid, however, will be the center of observation in the following weeks.

The China Post staff