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On November 16, DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen officially announced former Academia Sinica vice president Chen Chien-jen to be her running mate in the 2016 presidential election.

UDN reports, the DPP points out that during the outbreak of SARS in 2003, Chen stepped in as Minister of Health. He efficiently reorganized the near-crashed administrative system and integrated the public and private health care systems that originally operated separately, through which he has demonstrated impressive leadership.

Tsai says that during the DPP’s opposition, Chen was a member of the party’s think tank and has established a good understanding with the team.

In addition, Chen has worked as chief of the National Science Council and was favored because of his outstanding coordination and communication skills. If Tsai Ing-wen is elected, he will not be a silent vice president.

Tsai has released her five innovative research and development plans, including the establishment of an Asia-Pacific biotechnology pharmaceutical R&D center. Chen’s joining in the election might be interpreted as the biotechnology industry likely being the emphasis out of the five development plans.

ETtoday reports, 64-year-old Chen Chien-jen was born in Chishan, Kaohsiung. He received his PhD in Epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University and is the first Academia Sinica researcher with a background in public health.

In addition to his well-known scholar background, Chen is a devout Catholic who has made a lot of contributions in the religious area. He has also been named a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great and a Knight of the Holy Sepulcher by Catholic Church.

Chen also stands by the same supportive position with Tsai regarding homosexual issues. In 2008, legislator Hou Shui-sheng said in congress, “Legalizing same-sex marriage will result in the collapse of this country." Chen, as Minister of Health back then, replied that although same-sex marriage is not part of the Ministry of Health’s work, he still believes everyone has the right to pursue happiness. He is also optimistic about the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Translated by June
Edited by Olivia Yang