Thu, Dec 10, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Ko backs alliance of eight candidates

NON-PARTISAN POLITICS:The Taipei mayor said he hoped that the coalition of independent, third-force party and DPP candidates could upend traditional politics

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je talks to reporters yesterday while attending the groundbreaking ceremony for a flood detention basin in the city’s Wenshan District.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said he had agreed to lend his support to an eight-member alliance consisting of independent, third-force party and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidates to boost their electoral chances in the capital.

According to a report by Chinese-language online news outlet Storm Media Group, the coalition — called the Capital Forward Alliance (首都進步大聯盟) — was formed following an agreement that the DPP would only nominate two legislative candidates — Taipei City Councilor Rosalia Wu (吳思瑤), who is running in Beitou-Shilin (北投-士林), and Legislator Pasuya Yao (姚文智), who is seeking re-election in Shilin-Datong (士林-大同) — while giving six other third-force and independent candidates the priority to run in the other six electoral districts.

The move was meant to follow the model Ko set in last year’s nine-in-one elections, in which Ko, an independent, beat his rival, the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Sean Lien (連勝文), and overturned the political landscape in the traditional KMT stronghold, the report said.

Aside from Wu and Yao, the six other alliance members are New Power Party’s Freddy Lim (林昶佐), Green Party-Social Democratic Party Alliance’s Fan Yun (范雲), People First Party Taipei City Councilor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) and three independent candidates — Yang Shih-chiu (楊實秋), Billy Pan (潘建志) and Lee Ching-yuan (李慶元).

Although the DPP had courted Ko’s support, the Taipei mayor said the party did not force the decision on him, as he also felt a need to “topple the lofty walls of bipartisan politics” dominated by the pan-green and pan-blue camps.

Ko said he would like to see whether Taipei could break away from conflicts caused by political polarization and the practice of voting for certain parties, and promote support for candidates who are actively engaged in social issues.

“I have been pondering which path Taiwanese politics will take after last year’s elections. Should we go back to bipartisan politics?” he asked.

“Maybe Taiwan will be a more mature place for bipartisan politics in 20 to 30 years, but we have learned from the past 20 years that politics has been beset by ideological conflicts,” Ko said.

Commenting on the list of candidates, Ko said: “This is an interesting roster. There are DPP members, a KMT outcast and self-proclaimed ‘independents.’ It will make the elections more interesting.”

Ko said that the eight candidates present better choices than their peers, but he has not yet decided how he would show his support.

“Allow me a few days to think it over,” he said.

In related news, DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said she had not heard of the alliance.

“There are several constituencies in Taipei where we did not nominate candidates, and our campaign strategy committee will soon decide whether we should support particular candidates in these districts. If we decide to do so, we hope that these candidates would work with us in the future to promote reforms in the capital,” Tsai said. “If Mayor Ko would like to help, we would of course welcome his assistance.”

Meanwhile, Social Democratic Party Secretary-General Yeh Hung-ling (葉虹靈) said her party would wait to see how Ko would campaign for DPP-endorsed candidates before issuing an official response.

Additional reporting by Loa Iok-sin and Abraham Gerber

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