People First Party (PFP) chairman and veteran politician James Soong threw his hat into the presidential race as a third-party candidate, vowing to end decades of bitter partisanship that has divided the nation.
“Collaboration instead of endless confrontation is our only way out of this mess,” he was quoted as telling the media, adding that his experience and resolve would allow him to put Taiwan on the correct path. Soong, a popular governor of Taiwan Province in the 1990s, previously ran for president as an independent in 2000 after being denied by KMT nomination. He garnered 36.8% of the vote in a three-way contest that saw him lose to the DPP’s Chen Shui-bian.
“Collaboration instead of endless confrontation is our only way out of this mess,”
In 2004 he partnered with former rival Lien Chan of the KMT, taking the vice presidential slot on the ticket, but Chen Shui-bian won reelection by a margin of only 0.22% of the vote. In a 2006 run for Taipei city mayor, Soong obtained only 4% of the vote, and he ran once again for president in 2012 as the PFP candidate and gained less than 3% support. The PFP, which Soong founded in 2000, has been considered – along with the KMT – as constituting the “blue camp” in Taiwan politics, as opposed to the “green camp” of the DPP and Taiwan Solidarity Union. Soong’s entrance into the race is therefore seen as hurting the KMT more than the DPP.