The five aspirants in the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) primary for the Taipei mayoral election met yesterday for discussions over independent Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) possible inclusion in the primary, but concluded the meeting without a consensus.
The meeting, convened by DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) at the party headquarters in Taipei, tried to resolve the issue of whether the DPP should tweak its regulations by allowing Ko in the primary as an independent, an issue that has been debated for months.
Ko, a physician at the National Taiwan University Hospital, has been leading pan-green camp hopefuls in support ratings, but has indicated he prefers to run as an independent.
A panel in charge of Taipei mayoral election nominations will hold a meeting on Wednesday and make a final offer to Ko over the possibility of joining the party, DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) quoted Su as saying after the 90-minute meeting yesterday.
No timetable on the nomination for the November election has been set, Lin said, adding that a series of sessions for DPP hopefuls to unveil their campaign platforms is to be held.
Opinions about Ko’s inclusion remained split among the five DPP contenders — former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), lawyer Wellington Koo (顧立雄), Taipei City Council deputy speaker Chou Po-ya (周柏雅) and legislators Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財) and Pasuya Yao (姚文智).
Yao and Koo — supporters of a “two-phase” format — said after the meeting that they think the DPP should complete its own party primary as soon as possible before working out a solution on possible “integration” with Ko, which could be resolved by a public opinion poll between the winner of the primary and the physician.
All five hopefuls said that the party should complete the nomination process before settling the dispute surrounding Ko, Koo said.
Chou called for expediting the primary process, adding that the nomination should be completed according to party regulations while the integration with a non-party member candidate would be “a political decision.”
Lu remained opposed to Ko’s inclusion in any form.
The former vice president has repeatedly criticized Ko for “kidnapping the DPP” with his high support rate and has criticized Su for not settling the issue.
Meanwhile, Ko said at a campaign stop in New Taipei City (新北市) yesterday that integration would be inevitable and he hoped that the issue could be resolved peacefully.