TAIPEI (CNA) — Former Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) announced Tuesday that she will compete in the 2020 presidential election, and she formally registered her candidacy a few hours before the deadline for independent contenders.
Under the Central Election Committee’s (CEC’s) regulations, however, Lu and her running mate Nantou Magistrate Peng Pai-hsien (彭百顯) will have to embark on campaign to collect at least 280,384 signatures by Nov. 2 to endorse their bid.
While they were both named by the newly formed Formosa Alliance, neither Lu nor Peng is a member of the party, and she in fact still holds membership in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which meant they had to register as an independent ticket.
At a news conference held after the registration process, Lu said she had spent several months considering whether to enter the presidential race.
“During that time, I was so moved by the number of people who expressed their love for Taiwan,” said Lu said. “I made up my mind yesterday to run for the presidency.”
She expressed gratitude to the pro-independence Formosa Alliance, which she said convinced her to enter the presidential race, and she vowed to fight to the end to win the election.
“It is in the interest of the Taiwan people to elect the right person to serve as president, and if they choose the wrong person, the country will suffer,” Lu said.
With the wrong leader at the helm, Taiwan will be like the Titanic, which hit an iceberg and sank in 1912, she said.
Lu said many people in Taiwan are fed up with the ideological tug-of-war between the Taiwan’s two main parties, the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the pro-unification Kuomintang (KMT), as evidenced by their public approval of about 25 percent each.
The people of Taiwan do not want to be taken hostage by either of those parties, Lu said, adding that she is confident she can offer a better choice. She said that while said she still loves the DPP, it is no longer the party it used to be.
In response to a reporter’s question, Lu said it did not matter if the DPP penalized her for running on an independent ticket.
Commenting on Lu’s announcement, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who is seeking a second term, said she respected the decision and wished to thank the former vice president for her contribution to Taiwan’s democracy, according to the president’s spokesman Juan Chao-hsiung (阮昭雄).
Meanwhile, DPP spokesman Wu Chun-yan (吳濬彥) said he had hoped that Lu would have been wise enough not to disrupt the unity of the party in its fight for Taiwan’s future, but the DPP respected her decision.
If Lu gains the required number of signatures to validate her candidacy, which is at least 1.5 percent of the electorate as counted in the 2016 legislative election, she will face off against Tsai of the DPP and Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) of the KMT, neither of whom has yet announced a running mate.
Lu, who served as vice president during the Chen Shu-bian (陳水扁) administration 2000-2008, registered for the 2020 election on the last day of the CEC registration process.
By Yeh Su-ping, Wen Kuei-hisang and Frances Huang