Independent Taipei mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday confirmed that he has been trying to recruit political commentator Yao Li-ming (姚立明) as his campaign director to widen the appeal of his efforts to lead the capital, which he says will focus on garnering non-partisan support.
Responding to a report by Chinese-language newspaper the Apple Daily, Ko told reporters that he had offered Yao, a professor in Chinese Culture University’s Department of Public Administration and Management, the position, but no decision has been made yet.
“No deal has been made, but I think we would complement each other,” Ko said.
Ko said that he was a physician at the National Taiwan University Hospital who came from a family of 228 Massacre victims, while Yao, a law graduate, was a professor at a private university who was a second-generation Mainlander.
Their different backgrounds would be complementary, Ko said, “but most importantly, we also share common characteristics in that we are both rational, logical people who could not care less about ideology.”
Ko, who is currently leading Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Sean Lien (連勝文) in opinion polls, had previously said he would prefer hiring a pan-blue camp figure to be his campaign director, since he was already backed by the pan-green camp and wanted to garner support from independent voters.
A TV political commentator and a former member of the pro-unification New Party, Yao is a good fit for Ko’s requirement, although he has been more known in recent years for his anti-KMT and anti-President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) position.
After quitting the New Party, Yao played an integral role in the anti-corruption movement in 2006 against then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who was eventually sentenced t o 20 years in prison for corruption. He helped establish the Red Party in 2007, which was later renamed the Taiwan National Congress in 2011.
Yao was named as a board member of the Thinking Taiwan Foundation, established by incumbent Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in 2012.
Yao was not available for comment as of press time last night.