Mon, Sep 14, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Taipei mayor says young parties need to be ‘bold’

A NOVICE’S ADVICE:Ko Wen-je said he had the benefit of being a new product on the market at a time when more than half of the capital’s voters saw themselves as neutral

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Taipei City Government and temple officials yesterday release balloons at the Guandu Temple in the city’s Beitou District to launch the northern Taiwan Matsu cultural festival.

Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times

Releasing “new products” and “correct timing” will be key for young political parties to win next year’s elections, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday at a forum on nascent political parties’ outlook on the nation’s political scene.

The rise of the “third force” is linked to the problems Taiwan is facing, including an economic slowdown that has caused Taiwan’s GDP to trail South Korea’s, and legislators failing to pass enough major bills over the past 15 years, Ko said.

US President Barack Obama won his first presidential election almost eight years ago on a promise to bring about “change,” Ko said, adding that the situation facing Taiwan’s third force can also be summed up with one word: “‘chance’ — a chance to achieve something big.”

He said that if members of the third force introduce themselves as “new products,” it would set them apart from major political parties.

Citing his success in mayoral election on Nov. 29 last year, Ko said he was a new product on a vast market at a time when neither the pan-green nor the pan-blue camp had gained a majority, because more than half of the city’s eligible voters considered themselves neutral.

He also attributed his success to right timing, which he said manifested after a string of social incidents that culminated with the Sunflower movement that emerged in the spring of last year.

“I did not stir up the currents of the events. On the contrary, I was propelled by them. I just happened to stand in front of them,” Ko said.

Commenting on the third force’s prospects of winning in January’s legislative elections, Ko said that there is a 90 percent chance that the it will languish in the polls.

From an economic perspective, a majority of new products are rejected by consumers, the mayor said.

“Success often comes accidentally. Failure is the norm,” he said.

He said that these minor political parties should still bravely “sail into the unknown” as Christopher Columbus did and should not be discouraged by failure.

Ko told Social Democratic Party convener Fan Yun (范雲) that young political parties should harbor goodwill and be bold in their actions going into the upcoming elections.

Underlining the importance of innovation, Ko said that most brands that boast longevity have reinvented themselves and gave Apple Inc as an example, which, he said, has transformed itself from a computer manufacturer to a company mainly focused on making smartphones.

From an evolutionary point of view, the number of species on Earth is insignificant compared to those that have already gone extinct, and that political parties would also become extinct if they refused to change, Ko said.

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