Fri, Aug 24, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Ko issues ‘approval card’ for city councilor photo ops

By Shen Pei-yao and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je smiles while answering questions from reporters yesterday at Taipei City Hall.

Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday on Facebook issued a “professor Ko approval card” that city councilor candidates must sign if they wish to be photographed with him.

The card includes a declaration of the 16 political values Ko promises to uphold.

“Four years ago, I made a promise to Taipei,” Ko wrote alongside a photograph of the declaration. “Four years later, I want to invite citizens to devote to this political reform project again.”

The values Ko listed include controversial policies, including opposing one-time expenses — such as the annual cash gifts given to elderly residents on Double Ninth Festival — when the city government is in debt and supporting fees for roadside parking.

One purpose of the card is to screen city councilor candidates who want to take photographs with him, Ko told reporters outside the mayor’s office, adding that too many strangers have asked for photographs and he finds it tedious.

The other purpose is to spread his political beliefs, he said.

While he does not have a problem with taking photographs, he hopes that what voters see is not the person photographed with him, but rather who is willing to make a promise to the public with him, Ko said.

Ko said he has always upheld these values and hopes that more people would be willing to do so as well.

Earlier this week, Ko said that he would release an “approval card” following criticism that he would attend any campaign events to which he was invited, even those hosted by his rivals.

However, some critics have said the card resembles a political party membership card.

Told by reporters yesterday that the card looks like a prelude to forming a party, Ko said: “Does it?”

In the declaration, Ko also listed “spirit of inclusion” and building an “inclusive playground.”

Asked by reporters to elaborate, Ko said that the city government is working hard to promote inclusive playgrounds that everyone can use, regardless of physical ability.

Pressed to comment on “cross-strait inclusion,” Ko said that inclusion is a concept.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Pasuya Yao (姚文智), his party’s mayoral candidate, said that the card was method of forming political parties and factions.

Yao said he respects other candidates campaign methods and would campaign at his own pace.

Additional reporting by Chou Yan-yu

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