Physician Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), frontrunner among the pan-green camp aspirants for the Taipei mayoral election, yesterday said he was caught in the dilemma over whether to join the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), but he would not rush a decision.
“Joining the DPP and running as a DPP candidate in the election in November could drive away independent voters and, according to various polls, end up costing 5 percent of the total votes, which could be crucial to the election outcome,” Ko said on the sidelines of a campaign stop.
However, he said that as an “amateur politician” who has never run for office before, his campaign needs the kind of resources that only a political party can provide, such as personnel, campaign funds and organizational expertise.
Grassroot relationships that only borough chiefs and city councilors are able to manage will also be key, Ko said.
The National Taiwan University Hospital doctor, who has been leading other pan-green hopefuls in opinion polls and has been advocating a “pan-green camp integration,” has called on the DPP not to nominate its own candidate for the race.
Most of the DPP members who have expressed an interest in running for the mayor’s job have opposed Ko’s initiative, saying the party must make its own nomination.
The DPP has given Ko a deadline of Wednesday next week to decide to apply for the party membership.
While making it clear that he prefers remaining independent, Ko denied that he had been bad-mouthing or degrading the DPP, saying that the polarization seen in previous Taipei mayoral elections had worked against the DPP’s candidate in those races.