Ko Wen-je addresses PFP event
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-01-18 04:26 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Trauma expert Ko Wen-je, who wants to run for mayor of Taipei City in December, addressed a crowd closely allied to the People First Party Saturday.

Ko still has to decide whether or not he wants to join the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party, but he has repeatedly advocated the formation of an opposition alliance against the ruling Kuomintang.

Ko described his appearance at the PFP-dominated Taipei Hope Forum Saturday as the first step to bring together ‘blue’ and ‘green,’ the two main camps in Taiwan politics. “It is better to have more friends than more enemies,” Ko said.

He was asked what he would do if after all, the DPP decided to nominate a candidate of its own even if Ko were running as an independent in the December 6 mayoral election.

He called for more patience, adding that if you gave the DPP more time, it would come to realize what was best for Taiwanese society. If everything had to happen in a hurry, the party might just run straight ahead and be abandoned by the public, he said.

Inside the DPP, former Vice President Annette Lu, attorney Wellington Koo and legislator Hsu Tain-tsair have declared their interest in the party’s mayoral nomination. In other counties and cities, the DPP has used opinion polls to determine its final candidate, but Ko’s presence outside the main opposition party has complicated the selection process. One suggestion emerged to first hold a survey to determine the strongest candidate inside the DPP, and then pit him or her against Ko in a second poll. Most DPP contenders rejected the suggestion and demanded the outspoken doctor join the party first before he could be considered as a candidate.

Other DPP figures said the party should not necessarily make membership a precondition for a candidate to receive its support.

Ko has voiced the fear that if he joined the DPP, he would lose his appeal to middle-of-the-road voters and to smaller parties like the PFP. In most opinion polls, Ko has come out the frontrunner for the ‘green’ opposition camp, once even defeating likely KMT candidate Sean Lien by 47 percent to 44 percent. Lien, the elder son of former Vice President Lien Chan, is likely to announce a decision on his candidacy next month. Ko accused him of being elitist for living at a luxury apartment complex and having received a bottle of red wine worth NT$200,000 (US$6,600). Lien told reporters Saturday that he asked the friend who gave him the bottle how much he has spent, and the answer was NT$40,000 (US$1,300).

Turning to the 2016 presidential election, Ko was asked Saturday which candidate he was most likely to support. On the KMT side, he said he preferred New Taipei City Mayor Eric Liluan Chu, but he avoided giving a direct answer for the DPP. Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang and his predecessor Tsai Ing-wen are both often pictured as the two most likely contenders. Ko said he had already gotten himself into enough trouble by describing Su and Tsai as the “two suns” of the DPP.

As to PFP Chairman James Soong, Ko said he was “too old” to run again and should be playing the role of “spiritual leader” instead. Soong finished second as an independent candidate in the 2000 presidential election behind DPP candidate Chen Shui-bian.

Ko called for more tolerance and forgiveness vis-à-vis Chen, who is now serving a 20-year prison sentence on charges of corruption.

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