Second China-Friendly Candidate to Seek Taiwan Presidency

Posted November 1st, 2011 at 8:10 am (UTC-5)
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Pro-China veteran Taiwan politician James Soong has entered the island's presidential race, submitting more than 350,000 signatures in support of a candidacy that could undermine the re-election chances of the incumbent.

Soong's candidacy, announced Tuesday in Taipei, raises the prospects of splitting the pro-China support base he shares with incumbent Ma Ying-jeou.

Soong, a former senior member of Mr. Ma's Kuomintang (KMT) party, now heads the People First Party. He began collecting signatures in September.

His candidacy as an independent in the 2000 presidential race pulled enough pro-China voters away from Mr. Ma's nationalists to ensure victory for Chen Shui-bian's independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party.

Incumbent Ma was elected in 2008 on promises of boosting trade and tourism with China and vows to continue pursuing Beijing-friendly policies.