New Power Party (NPP) Chairman Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) yesterday said that caucus whip Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) could be drafted as its presidential candidate if the party decides to join next year’s presidential race.

“If the party decides to nominate its own presidential candidate, drafting Huang would be a key option,” Hsu told a news conference at the caucus office in Taipei.

It is just an idea from the party headquarters and not yet a formal proposal, he said, adding that Huang has been consulted.

A proposal for the party to nominate its own candidate is still being discussed internally, he added.

If NPP members decide that Huang should be drafted, they would need to persuade him into accepting the arrangement before confirming the nomination at the party’s national convention, he said.

Asked about the headquarters’ plan to draft him, Huang said that he remains focused on his job as a legislator and promoting reforms.

The party also announced a list of 20 bills it plans to promote in the new legislative session, which starts on Tuesday next week.

The bill of the highest priority would be one requiring elected government officials to step down if they run for other positions, Hsu said.

If passed by mid-November, the bill would require Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, to relinquish his position starting the day he registers to run for president.

Such a law would not restrict people’s right to stand in election, but would require government officials to be more responsible, Huang said, adding that Hawaii, Texas and Florida have similar laws.

Other bills the NPP is to promote during the session include an anti-infiltration bill and a minimum wage bill, as well as amendments to the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau (香港澳門關係條例), the Mining Act (礦業法), the Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法) and the Prison Camp Act (外役監條例), the party said.

Separately, National Taiwan University professor of economics Cheng Hsiu-ling (鄭秀玲) was sworn in as the NPP’s legislator-at-large, replacing former legislator Kawlo Iyun Pacidal, whose NPP membership was revoked earlier this month for tarnishing the party’s image.

Green Party Taiwan in July found that two non-governmental organizations run by a former assistant of Kawlo had received NT$4 million (US$128,123 at the current exchange rate) in subsidies from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, which she was supervising.

While she would only be a legislator for four months, Cheng said that she hopes to collaborate with civil groups and would focus on promoting policies on politics, education, technology and the economy.