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China Times: KMT hopeful must deal with DPP challenger seriously
Central News Agency
2013-12-29 05:31 PM
Ko Wen-je, a surgeon at the National Taiwan University Hospital and a political novice, is bidding to run for Taipei mayor on the ticket of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in 2014, although he is not at present a DPP member. The surgeon is said to be neck-and-neck in various opinion polls with Sean Lien, who is very likely to be the ruling Kuomintang's (KMT's) standard bearer in the mayoral race, which is an ominous sign for the KMT. The ruling party, which has won the last four mayoral races in the capital, used to enjoy the support of 55 percent of voters in Taipei, against 45 percent for the DPP. But that edge seems to have been eroded in the polls between Ko and Lien, partly because KMT President Ma Ying-jeou has lost his charm among the general public and will no longer be able to get votes out for KMT candidates in Taipei in 2014. The fact that political greenhorn Ko could rival Lien in polls in such a KMT bastion indicates that voters who are tired of the partisan bickering between the ruling and opposition parties are longing for political figures who are not affiliated to any party. Ko still has to win the endorsement of the DPP, which is said to be seeking to bring the political maverick to heel by having him join the party and adhere to the party's principles. On the part of Lien, he has to take Ko's challenge seriously and humbly, even though he has not yet announced his bid for the KMT candidacy. In order to rally the traditional KMT followers in the capital behind him, Lien has to refrain from making reckless comments and needs to map out a serious campaign strategy. As for Ko, whether he can maintain his popularity in the race depends on whether he will change and follow DPP policy if he becomes a DPP member. (Editorial abstract -- Dec. 29, 2013) (By Maubo Chang)
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