Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) confirmed yesterday that she would soon formally announce her bid in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) primary for the Taipei mayoral election next year.
Lu ended long speculations about her candidacy in the primary on the sideline of a forum in Keelung, telling reporters that she did not think Taipei would be the DPP “weak spot” that most people think it is.
Lu joins DPP Legislator Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財), lawyer Wellington Koo (顧立雄) and National Taiwan University Hospital physician Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), a non-DPP member, on a crowded aspirant list, with Taipei City Councilor Chou Po-ya (周柏雅) rumored to be interested in entering the race as well.
“I want to erase the myth that Taipei is a perennially difficult constituency for the DPP,” Lu said, adding that part of her campaign platform would be merging Taipei, New Taipei City (新北市) and Keelung into a megapolis.
However, Lu said that she still preferred either DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) or former chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to run in Taipei and said if either of the two decided to do so, she would drop out of the race.
Although Ko appeared to be receiving solid support from pan-green supporters and leading other pan-green aspirants in most public opinion polls, Lu opposed a direct recruitment of the physician as the DPP’s candidate.
“The DPP has never recruited a non-member as a candidate with multiple party members aspiring for the nomination,” she said.
High support ratings could be temporary and Ko is advised to join the party if he was serious about winning the DPP’s nomination, the former vice president said.
Ko’s status as an independent has been a thorny issue for an exploratory panel designated by the DPP headquarters to conduct negotiations for all aspirants in Taipei since his inclusion would likely antagonize Lu, Koo and Hsu.
Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) proposed a solution based on the winning margin of the public opinion polls, saying that the DPP could recruit Ko if the physician led by a large margin in the polls.
If Ko failed to pull off a large lead, the DPP would be advised to nominate from its party members, Hsieh said.