There is more news regarding the possibility of Lin Yi-Hsiung (林義雄) running for president. Looks like I may lose that bet after all. Please notice that so far, basically nobody is willing to say anything about about Lin and the KMT seems to have had the sense to think before they speak (they haven't said anything yet).
Members of the Gikong church will establish the "Friends of Lin Yi-hsiung" organization today, a standard precursor to a presidential run. They also said they would push Lin to run, something that could well hurt the DPP if he ran outside the party. Several of those said to be backing Lin are founding DPP members.
Update: One founder of the "Friends" organization, Chiu Yi-fong (邱一峰), held a press conference to say he had presented Lin with a petition to run and that Lin "had not enthusiastically said yes" (沒有積極說好) but had not refused either. Chiu said he was hoping for the people to get their candidate without dependence on the big donors. Source: CNA article 邱一峰籌組林義雄之友會 籲林義雄選總統
Update 2: Lin will help lead a rally at the Taichung Main Station this Saturday which aims to "repair the refereda law and return direct power to the people" (「補正公投法，還我直接民權」). The rally is being held by a group who wants a referendum on the 4th nuclear power plant. The sensitive timing of such a high profile event is unlikely to be a coincidence, especially considering how well Lin has avoided the spotlight these last several months. Source: CNA's 林義雄明現身台中 宣揚補正公投法還直接民權
Update 3: According to a China Times article, a person close to Lin says that he is aware of the problems invovled with getting a DPP nomination considering 4 others have registered and the primary is soon. This source indicates Lin would be willing to run if there's strong public support, if the four current registrees would step aside, and if the party would give him a window. (Although this is an unnamed source, this one seems to fall in line with what I would expect from Lin.)
In response, DPP legislative caucus whip Wang Sing-nan (王幸男) said this was the church's idea and that Lin knew nothing about it. He added that if Lin did want to run to represent the DPP this election, the time and the system (perhaps a reference to the nomination process) were not suitable. Caucus leader Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said he had never heard Lin wanted to run.
Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) thought it would be a good idea to say that Lin would not represent the DPP for the next election because he left the party last year. She said he did have the right to run as an Independent.
Su Chen-chang (蘇貞昌) said as long as he hadn't been nominated by the party process, he'd be willing to step aside and work to get Lin elected. Kao Chien-chih (高建智), a legislator seen as close to Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), would only say that while everyone respect Lin Yi-hsiung, Hsieh is a better candidate due to his experience as premier and mayor. He also believes the primary should go on as scheduled.
Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇), a legislator close to Lin, says she's been in touch with Lin's wife. Tien says Lin's wife said that Lin hadn't known about the "Friends of Lin Yi-hsiung" organization and that while some have asked him to run for president, he normally responds with a big smile and a laugh. The wife also said Lin has not raised the topic with her and they have not talked about it.
That's a lot less of a total denial than I would have expected if Lin is not interested. Not good news for my bet that Lin wouldn't run. But I think the timing is late; it will be hard to alter the nomination process with the opinion poll and party primary scheduled to occur so soon. There are also internal party regulations that should prevent a "new member" (like Lin would be considered if he entered again) from getting the nomination.
In other words, at this point any Lin run would almost have to be as an independent, and I think everyone knows that would be a lot worse for the greens than for the blues. I just don't see those die-hard KMT guys willing to vote even for a Saint like Lin, and I'm not sure how much the light-blue public relates to him. In other words, Lin would pull almost only green votes and not very many blue votes away, which would result in a blue win.
Since I'm sure he knows this risk, I still doubt Lin will run despite all the talk.
林義雄選總統？ 蘇揆：未獲黨提名前願退讓 (中央社)
呂秀蓮：林義雄若參選 不是代表民進黨 (中央社)
林義雄參選2008？ 綠營：時間不對制度不合 (中央社)
政治天王惡鬥 朝野立委：甭擱亂了 (中央社)