The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday confirmed that there would be five participants in its primary for the Taipei mayoral election, but independent hopeful Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) could be added as the sixth if he joined the DPP by Wednesday.
An exploratory panel for the Taipei primary completed its task yesterday with the final meeting and confirmed a five-person list that included former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), Taipei City Council Deputy Speaker Chou Po-ya (周柏雅), lawyer Wellington Koo (顧立雄) and DPP lawmakers Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財) and Pasuya Yao (姚文智).
Ko, a physician at National Taiwan University Hospital, had previously been given a deadline on Wednesday to decide if he would join the DPP and vie for the party’s nomination.
Panel member and DPP Taipei City chapter director Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) said Ko has not indicated that he intends to join the party.
Regardless of whether Ko joins the party, panel member Wu Su-yao (吳思瑤) said DPP headquarters bore the responsibility for the Taipei mayoral election.
If Ko — whose support in opinion polls has been leading all pan-green camp aspirants — joined the DPP by Wednesday, he could be included in the primary process, otherwise an “integration” between Ko and the party would be required to determine whether the party would refrain from nominating a candidate, the party said.
The worst case scenario would be Ko remaining an independent and running against the DPP candidate, since both candidates would have almost identical supporter base, it added.
Ko has always preferred to run as an independent, which he said would earn him more votes from independent voters. The Journalist magazine this week published an unannounced survey conducted by Ko’s campaign in the middle of last month that found Ko leads possible Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Sean Lien (連勝文), son of former vice president Lien Chan (連戰), by 32.4 percent with 58.3 percent support as an independent.
If Ko ran as a DPP candidate, the margin decreased to 24.6 percent, 53.2 to Sean Lien’s 28.6 percent, according to the survey.