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Ko does not need to join DPP: Social groups
Taiwan Society wants national poll to pick Taipei candidate
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-01-04 04:38 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Potential Taipei mayoral contender Ko Wen-je did not need to join the Democratic Progressive Party, but the opposition should hold a nationwide opinion poll, social groups said Saturday.

The opposition camp has been faced with a dilemma because the popular trauma expert has so far been unwilling to join the DPP, while several high-profile party members are already running for the candidacy in the December 6 election.

The DPP has decided on candidates for other mayoral and county magistrate races by holding opinion polls, but the question of whether a non-party member like Ko should be included in a Taipei survey has been dividing supporters.

Social organizations close to the DPP and to the Taiwan Independence movement said Saturday there was no need for Ko to join the main opposition party, but the choice of a candidate should be determined by a nationwide poll featuring him as well as the current DPP contenders.

The Taiwan Society and allied groups said the opposition camp should recruit a reliable survey company and let the outcome be determined by the poll in Taipei City for 70 percent and elsewhere for 30 percent. Since 30 percent of Taipei resident originated from other regions, it made sense to consult outside voters, the groups said.

The Taiwan Society said the DPP should not restrict itself to its own members if there was a better chance that an outsider like Ko could bring what it called “the Taiwan faction” back to power. Attendants also suggested the DPP could wait until the KMT announced its choice before reaching its final decision, reports said.

Former Vice President Annette Lu, lawmaker Hsu Tain-tsair and attorney Wellington Koo are the DPP members who announced bids for mayor. Most independent opinion polls have shown Ko as more popular than each of them, and even as likely to defeat an eventual opponent from the ruling Kuomintang, even though the capital is seen as a government stronghold.

The social groups’ comments were interpreted by the media as raising pressure on the DPP, but party spokesman Lin Chun-hsien said he would respect their comments and suggestions.

Earlier in the week, lawmaker Yao Wen-chih suggested the DPP first conduct a poll to determine who its most popular internal candidate was before pitting him or her in a second poll against Ko.

A New Year’s Day online statement by former DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen encouraging the party to cooperate with social movements was also widely interpreted as a gesture of support for Ko’s bid, even though the text did not mention him by name.

The trauma expert has sometimes argued that he would be a stronger candidate if he did not join the DPP. As an independent, he would be able to attract voters from other parties not sympathetic to the DPP but disillusioned with the KMT, his argument went.

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