Sat, Jul 23, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Poll finds majority disapprove of Taipei mayor

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) disapproval rating has surpassed his approval rating for the first time, according to a survey released by the Taipei Research, Development and Evaluation Commission.

The results showed that 42.4 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Ko’s performance, while 43.8 percent said otherwise.

Ko’s approval rating plummeted 27 percentage points from the results of a survey the commission conducted in December last year.

Asked how satisfied they were with projects carried out by the Taipei City Government, 53.3 percent of respondents said they disapproved of the city’s work on public infrastructure, the highest disapproval rating recorded for any category.

Traffic was second in disapproval ratings, with 49.1 percent of those polled saying that they are dissatisfied with the situation.

The survey, conducted from July 4 to July 6, collected 963 valid samples.

Taipei City Government spokesman Sidney Lin (林鶴明) said that although the difference between Ko’s approval and disapproval ratings is within the survey’s margin of error, the results are nonetheless noteworthy.

Lin said that Ko was never one to read too much into polls, and that the results would serve as a reference for the city on improving policy implementation.

Taipei city councilors attributed Ko’s waning popularity to the Taipei Dome debacle and his administration’s transportation policies.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor William Hsu (徐弘庭) said that Ko should not allow his emotions to impair his judgement, citing the mayor’s perceived hostility toward Dome contractor Farglory Group as an example.

Hsu said that Ko should identify a modus vivendi with Farglory regarding safety standards used to assess the Dome’s safety, rather than insisting on the seven safety-related standards the city has imposed on the firm.

He questioned the fairness of the seven standards and the process that saw Japanese architects secure the bid to devise them.

The Taiwan Architecture and Building Center, which the Construction and Planning Agency commissioned to review the Dome’s safety, has rejected four of the seven standards, Hsu said.

“There are many large stadiums in the world. Ko should reference safety standards introduced for these stadiums,” he said.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Kao Chia-yu (高嘉瑜) said it is obvious that the public’s disapproval of the city’s infrastructure projects stemmed from the Taipei Dome debacle.

Kao said that the only way Ko could salvage his sliding popularity would be by proposing a satisfactory solution to the Dome impasse on Sept. 8 — the deadline Ko set for Farglory to pass a construction license change for the project — and to implement policies to solve traffic congestion.

DPP Taipei City Councilor Ho Chih-wei (何志偉) said that Ko’s approval rating has fallen at such a “frightening” pace that he has become the only politician in the nation’s history to have suffered such a rapid fall from grace.

Ko has said that he is against forming policies in pursuit of “highlights,” Ho said.

However, highlights that can win people’s recognition are exactly what Ko needs now, he added.

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