The integration of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and independent hopefuls in the Taipei mayoral election remains an unresolved issue, but Taipei residents have an opportunity to listen to what the contenders’ visions are on the next two Sundays in a pair of televised debates.
The DPP is scheduled to hold a televised debate for its five aspirants — 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), Legislator Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財) and Legislator Pasuya Yao (姚文智) — on Sunday.
The Taiwan Association of University Professors (TAUP) also announced that it is organizing a televised debate among all non-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) hopefuls on March 16, which would include National Taiwan University Hospital physician Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and award-winning screenwriter Neil Peng (馮光遠).
TAUP president Lu Chung-chin (呂忠津) said that all DPP contenders except Chou Po-ya have agreed to participate in the debate.
Both debates are to be televised by Formosa Television.
The DPP has been struggling between nominating its own candidate and supporting Ko, currently the frontrunner among all pan-green camp aspirants. While many party members and supporters urged the party to support Ko as an independent, the DPP contenders said it would be unfair and have been pressing Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) to finalize the party’s decision as soon as possible.
Ko has been mulling joining the DPP, but has made clear that he preferred remaining an independent to enlarge supporter base.
Speaking on the sidelines of a rally yesterday at National Taiwan University Gymnasium, Ko appeared to be reluctant to participate in either debate, saying that a debate between the rival camps would be better.
“It feels weird to debate with ‘friendly forces’ at this stage,” Ko said.
Meanwhile, in related news, Sean Lien (連勝文), a member of the KMT Central Committee who has announced his bid to run for Taipei mayor on the party’s ticket, is expected to open his campaign office as early as Wednesday.
Chin Hui-yuan (秦蕙媛), a spokeswoman for Lien, said the office, in an old building at the intersection of the Linsen N Road and Minzu E Road, has only three rooms — one for Lien, one for his seven or eight campaign workers and one meeting room, adding that no campaign logo will be displayed, for the time being.
Lien, the son of former vice president Lien Chan (連戰), threw his hat into the ring on Monday last week. Since then, he has been busy visiting the 12 administrative districts of Taipei to solicit support, although the KMT will not hold a primary to choose its candidate for the Nov. 29 elections until next month or May.
Additional reporting by CNA