Former Foxconn chief abandons run for Taiwan presidency

Terry Gou ends speculation of independent bid for presidency that threatened to split pro-China vote in January poll.

    Terry Gou, centre, chairman of Foxconn, the world's largest contract assembler of consumer electronics, poses with supporters for a photo after the company''s annual shareholders meeting in June. Gou has now abandoned his bid for the presidency of the self-ruled island [Chiang Ying-ying/AP Photo]
    Terry Gou, centre, chairman of Foxconn, the world's largest contract assembler of consumer electronics, poses with supporters for a photo after the company''s annual shareholders meeting in June. Gou has now abandoned his bid for the presidency of the self-ruled island [Chiang Ying-ying/AP Photo]

    Former Foxconn Chief Executive Terry Gou, the richest man in Taiwan, has given up on his plan to run for the island's presidency in elections scheduled for January 2020.

    Gou announced his decision in a statement late on Monday, one day before the September 17 deadline to register for the race.

    In a video message on Tuesday, he cited a bad election atmosphere, blaming personal and factional interests for dividing society, and said he could not bear to see his supporters being bullied.

    Gou's possible candidacy had threatened to divide the opposition Nationalist Party, which chose populist, pro-China Mayor Han Kuo-yu as its candidate in the party primaries in July. 

    While Gou lost that contest, he retained support among many party members. He had resigned from the party last week in what was seen as a precursor to contesting the election as an independent.

    With Gou's decision, the presidential contest will be between Han and incumbent Tsai Ing-wen.

    Relations with China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province and has stepped up pressure on the island since Tsai took office in 2016, are likely to dominate the campaign. 

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    SOURCE: News agencies