Taipei, Lee Si-kuen (???), a political commentator and political science professor at National Taiwan University, announced on Sunday his intention to run for mayor of Taipei as an independent.
Lee was the latest member of the pan-blue coalition led by the opposition Kuomintang to publicly announce an intention to run in the election late this year.
On Saturday, former Deputy Mayor Chiu Wen-hsiang (???) also declared on his Facebook page his interest to run as an independent, saying he would do a better job than independent Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (???), who is seeking reelection.
So far, former KMT Legislators Sun Ta-chien (???) and Ting Shou-chung (???), Taipei City Councilor Chung Hsiao-ping (???) and Chang Hsien-yao (???), the former deputy head of the Mainland Affairs Council, have registered for the KMT primary in Taipei.
Lee, 70, a lifetime KMT member, said that while many KMT backers may not understand why he intends to run as an independent, the most important thing is gaining support from city voters.
Lee said he decided to run as an independent to solicit support from all opposition forces, either political parties or individuals.
In declaring his candidacy, Lee said relocating Songshan Airport will be his top priority, and he plans to propose building a special zone on the site that will feature a forest park and 50,000 public housing units.
Lee Che-hua (???), director of the KMT's Organizational Development Committee, said it was too early to say whether the decisions by Lee and Chiu to join the race will affect the outcome of the election because the party has yet to hold its primary to determine its candidate.
Political figures from the pan-green camp led by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have also expressed interest in running.
Former Tainan County Magistrate Su Huan-chih (???) announced March 3 that he would leave the DPP after 27 years of membership to run for Taipei mayor as an independent.
Former Vice President Annette Lu (???), a member of the DPP, announced earlier this month her intention to seek the party's nomination in the race.
Lu is the second DPP aspirant to step forward after Legislator Yao Wen-chih (???). They will both have to compete for their party's support against Ko, who had the DPP's backing in 2014 when he ran as an independent.
Online news media newtalk.tw reported Saturday that the ruling DPP government is trying to convince Minister without Portfolio Audrey Tang (??), a digital technology professional, to participate in the election considering Tang's high level of support among young people.
Legislator Freddy Lim (???) of the pan-green New Power Party said earlier this month that he would not rule out the possibility of running in the Taipei mayoral race.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel