Sat, Dec 12, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Koo to cease campaigning for unendorsed candidates

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative candidate Wellington Koo (顧立雄) yesterday “tearfully” agreed to stop campaigning for Green Party-Social Democratic Party Alliance candidates, after being reprimanded by DPP leaders.

“After being told [to stop campaigning] by party leadership, my only choice is to tearfully accept — what else can I do?” said Koo, who is ranked fourth on the DPP’s legislator-at-large candidate list.

He appeared to rule out supporting several candidates with “pan-blue” backgrounds, who the DPP endorsed earlier this week, passing over competing candidates from the alliance.

“My heart has its own measuring stick. Party leaders can only tell me what I cannot do — they cannot require me to do anything,” he said.

Koo on Thursday had said he planned to continue campaigning for the alliance’s candidates, adding that there was “no way I could accept” the party’s endorsement process.

A lawyer and long-time civil activist, Koo had previously campaigned for Taipei district candidates Lee Yen-jong (李晏榕), Lu Hsin-chieh (呂欣潔) and Miao Po-ya (苗博雅).

The DPP on Wednesday endorsed rival independent candidates Billy Pan (潘建志), Yang Shih-chiu (楊實秋) and Lee Ching-yuan (李慶元).

The party’s support of the candidates has caused controversy among local party members because of their past criticism of the DPP, with Lee and Yang serving as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) city councilors before being ejected from the party earlier this year.

DPP Deputy Secretary-General Hung Yao-fu (洪耀福) was on Thursday quoted in reports as saying that barring party officials from campaigning for unendorsed candidates was necessary to keep the vote from being split in competitive districts, which would guarantee a KMT victory.

The “sum” of the “good” and “bad” of candidates was ultimately reflected on the “objective measure” of their poll numbers, he said, adding that the party had given third-force candidates half a year to integrate before announcing its endorsements.

The alliance’s candidates had rejected previous DPP offers to facilitate “integration” in their districts, citing ideological incompatibility with competing candidates.

Miao said she “understood” that Koo was obligated to tow the party line, adding that she was confident he would continue to support her in private.

She said voters could “make their own judgement” about the DPP’s decision, adding that it highlighted the tensions between party discipline and individual conscience.

Additional reporting by Chen Hui-ping

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