Thu, Nov 20, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Ko, Tsai deny ‘UDN’ report on deal

JOIN THE CLUB:The report alleged that Tsai had said Ko would have to obtain the DPP’s approval on policy decisions, and that there was a disagreement over that

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Independent Taipei mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je, center, wears a pink scarf when attending an event organized by female supporters yesterday.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

Independent Taipei mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday both denied reports by the Chinese-language United Daily News (UDN) that they were not on the same page over whether Ko would obtain the DPP’s consent before making policy if elected.

The newspaper reported yesterday that Tsai said during a televised interview on SET-TV (三立電視) on Tuesday night that while the DPP agreed to help Ko in his mayoral bid by not nominating its own candidate, Ko would have to join the DPP “mayors’ club” after being elected, and could not make any policy decision until obtaining its consent.

The story went on to quote Ko as asking: “Why would she [Tsai] say so?” upon being asked for comment by a Next TV reporter surnamed Huang (黃) about Tsai’s reported remarks, and repeatedly saying: “That’s not how the agreement is.”

However, while both said there is a deal between the two sides, Ko and Tsai denied that there are differences between their understandings of the agreement.

“I have a deal with the DPP, but it’s not a formally signed contract, it’s an oral agreement with three major points. First, the DPP agreed that it would throw its support behind me, and I would, in turn, help their Taipei City Councilor candidates in the campaign since they wouldn’t have a leading figure in the election if they don’t nominate their own mayoral candidate,” Ko told a news conference at his campaign headquarters. “Second, the DPP agreed not to interfere with my decisions on appointing city officials, and, third, I agreed to discuss policy directions with the DPP mayors’ club.”

Ko said that he is always open to discussions on public issues, and that discussing policy decisions is different from having to make decisions with the consent of DPP mayors.

“I would actually be willing to discuss policy ideas with the mayors of New Taipei City and Keelung City as well, even if Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] candidates win the mayorship of the two cities,” he said.

Ko was referring to an agreement he and the DPP made in June when the party decided not to field its own Taipei mayoral candidate and to back Ko instead, since Ko won a poll against other DPP hopefuls.

Tsai also denied the UDN report, and echoed Ko.

“Ko and the DPP have a very healthy relationship,” Tsai said when asked to comment on the UDN story during a campaign event in Taoyuan County. “It’s very clear that our deal includes: First, we would not intervene in his election campaign; second, we would not intervene in his personnel appointments if he is elected; and third, we hope that he would join the DPP mayors’ club, so that we would have a chance to discuss public policies.”

A video clip of the televised interview aired on Tuesday night also shows that Tsai only asked Ko to have discussions with DPP mayors on policy to enhance effectiveness, and mentioned nothing about Ko having to obtain consent from the DPP mayors’ club before making a policy decision.

In a separate setting, DPP spokesperson Huang Di-ying (黃帝穎) called on the UDN to correct the story, or the DPP might take legal action.

The dispute seems to have been caused by Huang misquoting Tsai’s remarks from the TV interview when the reporter asked Ko to comment on it.

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