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Ko not looking for Shih support
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-07-19 03:06 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Opposition Taipei City mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je said Saturday that he was not looking for the support of former Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Shih Ming-te in particular but for the widest support possible.

On Friday, Chinese Culture University associate professor Yao Li-ming took office as Ko’s campaign manager. Since Yao and Shih both took part in the “red shirt movement” against former President Chen Shui-bian, the appointment raised suspicions that Shih might soon join the Ko camp as well.

The reports caused consternation among supporters of Chen, who is now serving a 20-year prison sentence for corruption amid failing health. Ko has been a key campaigner for medical parole for the former president.

The candidate said Saturday that for the time being, inviting Shih to join his campaign team was not his priority. “The opposition alliance is looking for the support of the largest possible majority,” he said.

Despite seeking and winning the support of the DPP, Ko has not joined the main opposition party because he wants to rally other groups as well to his campaign against the ruling Kuomintang and its candidate in the November 29 election, Sean Lien.

As Yao was appointed, there were reports that even more important members of the pro-KMT camp might jump ship and throw their support behind Ko. Media reports speculated that People First Party Chairman James Soong might announce his choice of a favorite mayoral candidate Saturday. Even though his party’s support has dwindled since he narrowly lost the 2000 presidential election, a statement in favor of Ko could draw more centrist and originally pro-KMT voters into the opposition camp, reports said.

Recent opinion polls put Ko ahead in the race by up to 20 percent, though an internal KMT survey showed the opposition candidate leading by 7 percent, reports said Saturday.

Yao reportedly said that if polls showed Ko less than 15 percent ahead of Lien, the race could be described as neck-and-neck.

The opposition candidate himself said that it was a tragedy that people in Taiwan did not have confidence in the country’s politics. He also expressed regret about the gap between his support and polls showing that not that many people thought he might actually win the election.

“In a normal democratic country, there should not be a situation where one poll shows a candidate is going to win but another shows most people believe he will lose,” Ko said.

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