A mayoral election is not a protest movement. A populist movement with lots of supporters can rally against the government over a single issue or call for incompetent or dishonest officials to resign. A person can get elected as a legislator based on strong critical abilities, but that is not enough to consolidate a lasting and orderly campaign or governing team. Some may compare this scenario with the case of James Soong (宋楚瑜), who stood as an independent candidate in the 1999 presidential election campaign and trounced the other pan-blue contender, Lien Chan (連戰) of the KMT, in the vote in March 2000.
Although Soong was suppressed and sidelined by the KMT, he was no political greenhorn. He still had an experienced and seasoned team behind him from his time as the head of the Taiwan provincial government. He had a network of campaign activists and plenty of potential for fundraising based on his long career in government and politics. As such, Soong can hardly be compared with Ko, who is starting from scratch.
Su said he will give Ko time, and that shows that the DPP does not want to lose the chance to join other opposition forces.
Ko is now torn between online supporters who would rather see him stand as an independent and a political party that is determined to nominate its own candidate.
Whether Ko can reconcile and satisfy the two groups will be a test of his own “wisdom of life and death.”
Julian Kuo is a former Democratic Progressive Party legislator.
Translated by Julian Clegg