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Taipei mayor hopeful Ko predicts end of old-time politicians
Central News Agency
2014-04-09 11:24 PM
Taipei, April 9 (CNA) Independent Taipei mayoral hopeful Ko Wen-je said Wednesday that he believes old-fashioned political figures will be phased out in favor of a new generation in the aftermath of the massive student protest that was set to end Thursday. The surgeon, a favorite among many supporters of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), lauded student protesters for managing to bring together 500,000 people, according to organizer figures, in a rally to show solidarity for the protesters occupying the Legislature to oppose the trade-in-services pact with China. Ko made his remarks from Huwei Township in Yunlin County, where he stopped by to take part in the procession of a statue of the sea goddess Matsu. There he mentioned his concerns over the pact and the protests it brought. He said that he admires not just what he called the "unprecedented scale" of the March 30 demonstration, but also the way that protesters left no trash behind after departing, proving the high caliber of the Taiwanese people. He argued that civic movements need to touch on changes to ways of thinking and culture to be successful. He said that the students will continue to make even bigger changes as they return home all across the country. Ko, who is not a member of the DPP despite ideological similarities, said there is not much room in Taiwan's political climate for the students to form a new political party. But he predicted the momentum they have built up will become a challenge for the two major parties -- the DPP and the ruling Kuomintang -- and will serve to undermine their influence. The two major parties can transform themselves if they succeed in absorbing that energy, but risk marginalization if they fail to do so, he predicted. Either way, the larger impact of the Sunflower Movement will not be clear until six months to one year from now, he added. The student protesters were set to exit from the Legislature Thursday, a decision they made after Legislative President Wang Jin-pyng pledged to enact a law overseeing cross-strait agreements before reviewing the trade pact. (By Yeh Tze-kang and Lilian Wu)
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