Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) chances of being re-elected would be reduced if the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) nominated its own candidate for mayor, DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said yesterday.
Ker made the remark in a radio interview, when host and former Taipei Department of Tourism and Information commissioner Chien Yu-yen (簡余晏), a fellow DPP member, asked him to comment on his rapport with Ko and whether the DPP would support Ko as it did in the 2014 mayoral election.
Ko used to be a member of former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) medical team, and his political stance and his position on “Taiwanese values” were the same as the DPP’s, Ker said, but added that after he became mayor, Ko needed votes from everyone, so it became difficult to understand his political beliefs.
As a friend of Ko’s, Ker said he has privately advised him to be careful when speaking publicly, to think more and speak less, and “suck it up” when misunderstood, but Ko had let him down.
However, Ko has been more discrete lately, so he believes there is still time for him to mend his relations with the DPP, Ker said.
Asked whether he thinks Ko would run for president in 2020, Ker said Ko must realize that he won by 17 percent in the 2014 election at the height of his popularity as a then-political novice, but none of the DPP’s candidates have won less than 30 percent of the votes in any mayoral or commissioner elections.
Therefore, even if a DPP Taipei mayoral candidate obtained only 20 percent of the vote, Ko’s chances of being re-elected would be reduced, he said, adding that if Ko loses the election, it is doubtful he would be able to win a nationwide vote, as his defeat would mean the end of the “Ko era.”
In related news, a new DPP poll showed that 70 percent of its supporters want the party to nominate its own candidate for Taipei mayor, a source said.
The survey conducted by the party on Monday and Tuesday found that Ko has the highest support rating from Taipei residents, with 35 percent of all the respondents saying they would vote for him if he ran for re-election.
Ting and DPP Legislator Pasuya Yao (姚文智) have a support rating of 30 percent and 25 percent respectively, the poll showed.
The party could lose its core support base if it does not run its own candidate in the Taipei election, a DPP member said on condition of anonymity, adding that those who are unhappy with the party might end up voting for the New Power Party’s candidate.
The DPP yesterday held a meeting to discuss its plans for the mayoral elections, when DPP Taipei chapter director Huang Cheng-kuo (黃承國) called on the party to have its strongest member run for Taipei mayor, the source said.
It was decided in the meeting that city councilors, township mayors and party members interested in running for the post would be consulted before making a decision, said DPP Legislator Chen Ming-wen (陳明文), who is also convener of the party’s Electoral Strategy Committee.
The committee would also contact Ko, he said, adding that a final decision would be made in the middle of this month.
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