Taipei independent candidate wants to meet DPP leader
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-03-04 05:48 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Independent Taipei City mayoral hopeful Ko Wen-je wants to meet with Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang to discuss how to join forces, reports said Tuesday.

The main opposition party already counts five mayoral contenders scheduled to hold a televised debate Sunday, but Ko has been leading opinion polls, while the ruling Kuomintang is preparing for primaries.

The outspoken National Taiwan University Hospital trauma department chief recently said he was in the race to the finish, leading to speculation that he had entirely ditched the possibility of joining the DPP.

Hung Chih-kun, a member of the party’s Central Executive Committee close to Ko, reportedly wanted to propose a motion at a meeting Wednesday which would benefit the physician. If an opinion poll within a month after the selection of a DPP candidate showed the person trailing an independent opposition contender by more than 5 percent, then the party should throw its support behind the independent, Hung’s motion reportedly said.

The proposal was designed to force closer relations between Ko and the DPP, reports said. The doctor has been reluctant to join the main opposition party because he thinks it would damage his efforts to reach out to smaller groups and form a broad anti-KMT coalition. The alliance would possibly include the Taiwan Solidarity Union, the Green Party and the People First Party.

Taipei City has been run by the KMT since 1998, and recent opinion polls show a possibility that Ko might defeat the most likely contender from the ruling camp, Sean Lien.

Within the DPP camp, former Vice President Annette Lu has been the most vociferous critic of cooperation with Ko. She says that with five contenders, there is no shortage of talent within the opposition party, so an alliance with an outsider is not necessary.

Lu will take part in the March 9 debate with attorney Welllington Koo, Taipei City Council Vice Speaker Chou Po-ya and lawmakers Hsu Tain-tsair and Yao Wen-chih.

When Lu announced a list of advisers Tuesday morning, it surprisingly featured Jennifer Wang, a former Council of Labor Affairs minister in the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou. Both women have a background in the women’s rights movement.

The list of Lu advisers also included prominent academics and former local DPP government leaders.

On the KMT side, Lien reportedly faced problems in determining where to set up his campaign headquarters, the Chinese-language United Evening News reported. According to the newspaper, the landlord of the apartment the Lien group planned to rent objected to the possible noise and disruption to other residents the campaign office might bring. Lien has also come under fire for hailing from a wealthy family and was sued by a talk show host for alleged insider trading.

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