Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), if he runs for president in 2020, might have a similar magnitude of influence as People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), who nearly won the 2000 presidential election as an independent candidate, Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation chairman You Ying-lung (游盈隆) said yesterday.
In a radio interview, You commented on Ko’s rising popularity and his potential candidacy.
“Ko might well be the next James Soong judging from the structure of his support base,” You said.
Soong, who entered the 2000 race as an independent after losing the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential nomination to then-vice president Lien Chan (連戰), was then expelled from the KMT and the party accused him of embezzling millions of US dollars from it in what became known as the Chung Hsing Bills Finance scandal.
Soong lost the election to the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) candidate, Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), by 312,805 votes, but beat Lien by more than 1.7 million votes.
Ko enjoys a degree of popularity similar to Soong’s ahead of the 2000 race and is the nation’s favorite politician, surpassing Premier William Lai (賴清德), You said.
A foundation opinion poll released on Sunday found that Ko scored 66.75 on the “feeling thermometer,” which is gauged between zero and 100, compared with Lai’s 63.44.
However, it remains to be seen if Ko can match Soong’s political influence, You said.
Soong, as a former Taiwan Province governor, had the support of the provincial government and he had built up local political networks loyal to him through decades of effort, You said.
“A fast-rising star like Ko Wen-je might not have the same degree of local support James Soong had,” You said.
Increasing tension between Ko and the DPP is evidence that it finds his popularity threatening, You said.
DPP lawmakers have signed a petition urging the party to nominate its own candidate for next year’s Taipei mayoral election, which it did not do in the 2014 election, and DPP Legislator Cheng Pao-ching (鄭寶清) on Monday accused Ko of trying to curry favor with Beijing and turning voters against the DPP.
“It is the ‘Godzilla’ phenomenon. [Ko has become] a powerful monster that frightens all and provokes attack,” You said.
For people outside the political sphere, Ko’s straightforward manner makes him appear unpretentious and his criticism of the DPP administration’s unpopular policies, such as the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program and pension reforms, have aligned him with the public, You said.
The recent Cabinet reshuffle has shown disappointed supporters that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) can make wise decisions at critical moments, You said, pointing to Sunday’s poll that found her approval rating boosted by 16.6 percentage points to 46.4 percent.
Tsai approved of the unpopular workweek policy, but the new Cabinet must now amend it because employers and employees do not like it, You said.
‘UNAFRAID’: Most Taiwanese do not seem to be aware of the danger of war and might be unprepared, a KMT legislator said of the poll by an affiliated foundation Nearly 60 percent of Taiwanese believe that a war between Taiwan and China is “unlikely” or “impossible,” a survey released yesterday by the National Policy Foundation showed. The survey asked participants if they thought there was a possibility of war between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait based on recent developments, said the foundation, which is affiliated with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). While 42.5 percent of respondents thought it was “unlikely” and 17.1 percent believed it was “impossible,” 5.1 percent said it was “very likely” and 17.2 percent said it was “fairly possible,” the survey showed. Another 18.2 percent gave
The Kaohsiung Prosecutors’ Office on Monday indicted a Chinese sea captain over his alleged involvement in the killing of four pirates at sea in 2012, while serving as the captain of a Taiwanese fishing vessel. The suspect, identified by the media as 43-year-old Wang Fengyu (汪峰裕), was charged with homicide and breaches of the Controlling Guns, Ammunition and Knives Act (槍砲彈藥刀械管制條例), the indictment read. Wang asked two Pakistani mercenaries that he hired as acting captain of the Kaohsiung-registered Ping Shin No. 101 to fire on and kill four suspected Somalian pirates in the Indian Ocean off the Somalian coast on Sept. 29,
UPGRADE: The system is more efficient than others, which typically involve longer procedures that can produce pseudo-positive or pseudo-negative results The National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center yesterday unveiled an infrared wax physisorption kinetics imaging system, which it said efficiently detects 10 types of cancer. Through scanning tissue section samples, the imaging system can detect colon, breast, stomach, oral, ovarian, cervical, prostate and skin cancer, as well as neuroendocrine tumors and glioblastoma, center associate research fellow Lee Yao-chang (李耀昌) told a news conference in Taipei. The system uses paraffin and beeswax with organic solutions as developers for its infrared imaging device, which can mark abnormal polysaccharides on the surface of cancer cells in six to 15 minutes, while the wax is absorbed by
China is trying to convince Taiwanese that an authoritarian system is preferable to democracy, the Information Operations Research Group (IORG) said at a conference yesterday. China has been employing Taiwanese sympathetic to its “united front” tactics to help spread disinformation about democracy and Taiwanese society through social media, television programs, YouTube and by other means, the group said at the conference to promote public awareness of China’s cognitive warfare campaign. In the group’s latest report, it highlighted eight disinformation discussions that its researchers listed under three main topics: flu viruses in the US are deadlier than COVID-19; US troop movements caused the