Independent Taipei mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said he would work harder to gain the support of People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), adding that he has much to learn from the former provincial governor.
Ko made the remarks in response to Soong’s recent comments that he has not looked into the details of policy platforms presented by the two major Taipei mayoral candidates and thus has not decided who to support, Ko or Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) rival Sean Lien (連勝文).
“I would certainly like to have a meeting with Soong and gain his support, as I have a lot to learn from him and his team, especially from when he served as provincial governor [of Taiwan],” Ko said at a campaign event in Taipei. “Soong has already pointed out a direction I can work toward.”
Ko added that he also wanted Soong as an ally because it always helps to have one more friend and fewer enemies in politics.
Yesterday was not the first time that Ko made such remarks — Since the start of his campaign, the physician has praised Soong’s political performance and repeatedly proclaimed that he would like to have more allies in his “coalition of the opposition.”
The interaction between Ko and Soong’s party became a focal point for political observers when several PFP city councilor candidates attended the inauguration of Ko’s campaign headquarters on Saturday.
PFP Deputy Secretary-General Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) acknowledged that Ko has asked to meet with the party chairman, adding that many people from the KMT have also tried to win Soong’s support.
“At the moment, Soong believes it is not yet the right time to declare his support; he would rather wait until he sees more of each candidate’s policy platforms,” Liu said.
Liu said that when two politicians share common ideas, they can become partners, adding that Ko’s repeated praising of Soong’s political record “shows that Soong and Ko may be getting closer in terms of ideas.”
When asked by reporters about a remark made by former vice president Lien Chan (連戰), Sean Lien’s 78-year-old father, on Saturday that “someone who reaches old age should know to retire from politics” — which was widely interpreted as referring to 72-year-old Soong — Ko said the comments constituted age discrimination.
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