Annette Lu throws hat in ring for 2012 Taiwan poll

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 March, 2011, 12:00am

Former Taiwanese vice-president Annette Lu Hsiu-lien announced her bid to run in next year's presidential election, calling it her final war in striving to become the island's first female leader.

Speaking in a rally in Taipei yesterday, Lu said she was joining the presidential campaign because she could not bear to see the 'five crises' that President Ma Ying-jeou's policies had caused.

'I have witnessed the loss of Taiwan's sovereignty, the hollowing-out of our national defence, diplomatic setbacks, financial difficulty and the sharp diminishing of public prosperity - crises all caused by Ma's ill-advised national policies,' Lu said. 'To tackle all these crises Taiwan is facing, I have decided to stand up to fight the last battle of my life.'

Lu, 66, becomes the first bigwig from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party to announce her run for the presidency.

Asked about her chances of winning the party's nomination and whether she would quit the DPP if she failed to win it, Lu said: 'Never assume I will lose [the nomination], and don't ever look down on me.'

She said she was the most qualified person from the opposition to run for the office, given that she was vice-president from 2000 to 2008 and had rich experience running Taiwan.

Lu - who was attending a rally at a park in memory of the 2/28 Incident, in which thousands of Taiwanese were killed by Kuomintang troops sent to suppress an uprising in 1947 - said few people thought Chen Shui-bian could win the presidential elections in 2000 and 2004.

'Before the 2000 presidential election, only 7 per cent of poll respondents were confident that Chen would win, but he finally did,' said Lu, Chen's running mate in both races.

Asked about trailing in public opinion polls behind DPP chairwoman Dr Tsai Ing-wen and former premier Su Tseng-chang - seen as her strongest opponents for the nomination, Lu said outcomes could never be taken for granted.

'Public support fluctuates from time to time, depending on a bad decision or move taken by a hopeful, so who knows what the final result will be?' she said.

Lu lost the DPP's four-person presidential primary in 2007. Former premier Frank Hsieh Chang-ting won the primary, and Lu finished last behind Su and former premier Yu Shyi-kun, with just 6.16 per cent of the vote. Chen, who served two terms, was legally barred from running again.

Tsai, Su and Hsieh - who all said they expected to announce their presidential bids eventually - said they respected Lu's decision.

Lu has been critical of the process the DPP is using this year to determine its presidential candidate. It will choose its candidate on May 4 based on the results of five national public opinion polls, which could include people who are not DPP members. Previously it was a combination of a DPP primary election and a poll.