Presidential running mate: KMT picks lawyer

Kuomintang presidential candidate, Mr Eric Chu, with his running mate, Ms Wang Ju-hsuan, at the party's headquarters in Taipei, yesterday. Ms Wang was labour affairs minister from 2008 to 2012.
Kuomintang presidential candidate, Mr Eric Chu, with his running mate, Ms Wang Ju-hsuan, at the party's headquarters in Taipei, yesterday. Ms Wang was labour affairs minister from 2008 to 2012.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

TAIPEI • Taiwan's presidential hopeful for the embattled ruling Kuomintang (KMT) has chosen a popular labour rights lawyer as his running mate as the party seeks to prevent a rout in January's vote.

KMT candidate Eric Chu is trailing Dr Tsai Ing-wen of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party in the polls - Dr Tsai would become Taiwan's first female president if elected.

The Beijing-friendly KMT's candidate yesterday announced Ms Wang Ju-hsuan, a lawyer and former labour minister who has won a reputation for her work with women and underprivileged groups, as his running mate.

At a time when the KMT is being heavily criticised by opponents for growing too close to Beijing, Ms Wang is an independent who is not known for having strong views on cross-Strait relations.

Ms Wang served as labour affairs minister from 2008 to 2012.

She then left politics to focus on legal work, but said she had returned to further the rights of vulnerable groups.

"I decided to come back, because... if we hope to change the destiny of underprivileged people, it can only be done through politics... Only through politics, can distribution of the country's resources be changed," she said yesterday.

The KMT is struggling to regain public support after its worst-ever local election defeat last year, with its China-friendly policy under President Ma Ying-jeou being a major factor.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 19, 2015, with the headline 'Presidential running mate: KMT picks lawyer'. Print Edition | Subscribe