PFP Chairman James Soong.

PFP Chairman James Soong. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) is exploring the possibility of launching a presidential ticket for the fourth time, reports said Saturday (November 2).

Only four political parties can nominate a candidate for the January 11, 2020 election without having to collect 280,384 signatures from the public, a procedure for which no candidate succeeded by the deadline late Saturday.

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) named incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to run for a second and final term, the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) chose Kaohsiung City Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), and the small New Power Party (NPP) decided to focus on the legislative election instead, leaving the PFP as the only group still holding an “entrance ticket” to the presidential race.

Soong, 77, was considering another bid and had met with influential economics commentator and publicist Hsieh Chin-ho (謝金河), the Central News Agency reported Saturday.

The media hinted the veteran politician might have invited Hsieh to serve as his running mate, though a PFP official said he might have just asked the executive director of Wealth Magazine for advice on the economy.

The two were friends since they attended two APEC summits together, Soong as the envoy of the Taiwanese government, the official said.

Before the reports about an eventual new bid for Soong emerged, the PFP was said to be considering helping former Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) or Foxconn Technology founder Terry Gou (郭台銘) with the “entrance ticket” to the presidential race.

Soong ran for president as an independent in 2000, for vice president on a ticket with KMT candidate Lien Chan (連戰) in 2004, and for president again in 2012 and 2016.