TAIPEI MAYOR: Ko Wen-je said he respects that political parties have their own considerations and accepts the challenge of running against the DPP and the KMT
By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter
The Democratic Progressive Party （DPP） is to field its own candidate for Taipei mayor, the party said yesterday, adding that it has not ruled out tapping Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu （陳菊） or Premier William Lai （賴清德） as its nominee.
The DPP Electoral Strategy Committee held discussions about the issue with grassroots officials, including city councilors and borough wardens, and the majority said the party should nominate its own candidate for the Nov. 24 race, DPP spokesman Cheng Yun-peng （鄭運鵬） said.
“The majority believe the DPP should nominate its own [Taipei] mayoral candidate to achieve synergy between the central and local governments, fulfill the DPP’s promise to carry out reforms and put into practice the DPP’s vision for the capital,” he said.
After the DPP cooperated with then-candidate Ko Wen-je （柯文哲）, an independent, in the 2014 Taipei mayoral election and together achieved the difficult task of transition of political power in the capital, the party went on to become the ruling party and now holds more than half of the legislative seats, Cheng said.
“At these critical moments of reform, the DPP should bear greater responsibility, so the future [Taipei] mayor should fully understand the DPP’s goals, reflect the DPP’s values and govern in sync with the central government to push forward policies together,” he said.
The committee is to begin evaluating suitable nominees that it will recommend to the DPP chairperson, President Tsai Ing-wen （蔡英文）, he said, adding that the nominee must be a DPP member.
So far, Legislator Pasuya Yao （姚文智）, former vice president Annette Lu （呂秀蓮） and former Tainan County commissioner Su Huan-chih （蘇煥智） have declared their intention to run for Taipei mayor, he said.
The committee expects to decide on a candidate by the end of this month, coconvener Chen Ming-wen （陳明文） said, adding that the “draft pick” would be based on the result of a comprehensive evaluation, while opinion polls would only be used for reference.
Asked whether Chen Chu or Lai, widely believed to be the party’s strongest bets, would be considered, Chen Ming-wen said they have not been ruled out.
Prior to the announcement, Ko was asked how he would feel if the DPP decides against supporting him.
“It will be very thrilling,” Ko said, adding that he would accept the challenge, like he did in 2016, when he went on a 520km bicycle trip from the nation’s northernmost tip — New Taipei City’s Fuguijiao Lighthouse （富貴角燈塔） — to its southernmost tip — Pingtung County’s Oluanpi Lighthouse （鵝鑾鼻燈塔）.
Ko said that if he wins re-election while running against candidates from the Chinese Nationalist Party （KMT） and the DPP, then “it means Taiwanese society can finally break the pan-blue camp’s and pan-green camp’s hold.”
After hearing the DPP’s decision, Ko said he felt “very calm” and that performing his duties earnestly and properly is the best way to win re-election.
Ko said he respects that political parties have their own considerations and that he will fight until the end.
Former KMT legislator and Taipei mayoral aspirant Ting Shou-chung （丁守中） said that although the DPP had ended its “affair” with Ko, he still considers Ko to be his biggest enemy.
Meanwhile, Taipei City Government Deputy Secretary-General Lee Wen-ying （李文英） said that, as a DPP member, she has tendered her resignation because of ethical considerations.
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, left, and Taipei City Government Deputy Secretary-General Lee Wen-ying, a Democratic Progressive Party （DPP） member, are pictured in the Taipei City Council yesterday after Lee tendered her resignation following the DPP’s decision to field a candidate for the Taipei mayoral election. Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times