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Yao expresses support for Ko
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-06-14 03:25 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Democratic Progressive Party legislator Yao Wen-chih expressed support Saturday for independent doctor Ko Wen-je, his winning rival in the polls to select a joint opposition candidate for the November 29 Taipei City mayoral election.

In three opinion surveys conducted on Thursday evening, Ko outran Yao as the candidate most likely to defeat Kuomintang nominee Sean Lien. Despite the result, there had been speculation that Yao still wanted to be nominated by the DPP with the argument that the surveys also showed him doing better than Lien. The opposition party’s Central Executive Committee is scheduled to reach a final decision on the choice of a mayoral candidate on June 18.

In an online statement Saturday, Yao said he was willing to accept the result of the opinion surveys and throw his full support behind Ko to win the election. He added that he would respect all decisions reached on procedural questions by the CEC next Wednesday.

Yao rejected the reports that he still wanted to be nominated as the mayoral candidate despite Ko’s apparent victory. The poll results were not revealed in detail, but in the comparisons with Lien, the outspoken physician was further ahead than Yao.

The DPP lawmaker pointed out that he could not distance himself from the result of a selection procedure he had proposed in the first place. Months ago, Yao came up with the suggestion that the opposition party first hold opinion surveys to pick the strongest contender from within the DPP, and then pit the winner against independent Ko.

Yao unexpectedly won the first round, defeating prominent attorney Wellington Koo before facing down Ko in the June 12 surveys.

The legislator said Saturday he hoped Ko would agree to campaign on behalf of DPP candidates for the Taipei City Council, which will also be elected on November 29. The main considerations for the CEC to reach a decision will be whether Ko can move closer to the DPP ideals and agree on a joint campaign strategy, reports said.

The situation has also become more complicated with Shen Fu-hsiung, 75, a well-known former DPP legislator, joining the fray as an independent. He wants to appeal to voters who do not accept either the wealthy Lien, 44, or the inexperienced Ko, 55, as a good choice for mayor.

Various opinion polls published by the media Saturday had either Ko far ahead of Lien or both on an equal level.

If elections were held this weekend, Ko would win with an absolute majority of 51.36 percent, according to the Chinese-language Apple Daily. Lien would receive only 24.72 percent, and Shen 10.37 percent. Independent writer Neil Peng would finish last with 2.39 percent, while 11.16 percent had no opinion or had not made up their minds yet. The results were based on responses from 629 potential voters, the Apple Daily said.

The Chinese-language United Daily News showed Ko and Lien neck-and-neck at 34 percent each and Shen a distant third at 9 percent. The newspaper also looked at the supporters of the different political parties, with Lien relying on 67 percent of traditional KMT supporters and Ko on 77 percent of DPP voters. Of independent voters, 34 percent supported Ko while only 19 percent would pick Lien. Shen could rely on 11 percent of KMT supporters and on 5 percent of DPP backers.

The United Daily News also asked the public whom they thought was the most likely candidate to become the next mayor, with 39 percent choosing Lien, 27 percent Ko and 3 percent Shen.

A total of 66 percent of respondents said they would not rely on the candidates’ party affiliations to make their choice, but on the personality and policy proposals.

The paper received 1,008 valid replies to its survey, with a margin of error of 3.1 percent.

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