Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday criticized President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for not having a higher approval rating and said that presidents in “normal countries” rarely lose re-election.
Speculations about Ko’s intention to run for president as an independent has been circulating for many months, despite his frequent clarifications that he has not announced a bid and has not yet decided on the issue.
After several opinion polls listed him as a potential presidential candidate and the results showed his approval rate to be growing in the past few weeks, Ko was again asked by Taipei City councilors on Monday about his intentions, to which he responded again that he has not “made up his mind.”
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
“Truthfully speaking, this is not what a normal country should be like. If the current president did a good job ... not even a good job, but at least maintained an approval rating of more than 40 percent, there wouldn’t be any problems today,” Ko said.
Meanwhile, a report by Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine yesterday said that the Kaohsiung Education Bureau telephoned Municipal Kaohsiung Senior High School one day before Ko’s speech on campus on May 17, resulting in the school principal and directors being absent from the event.
When asked whether it could have been an order from Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), Ko said he thinks Taipei City Government officials are much happier because he has asked them not to get involved in politics and that they should just do their job.
“In Taiwan, I think there are clear divisions between political parties, but I often think that the biggest problem with Taiwanese politics since 2000 is that the civil service has been damaged,” Ko said.
When asked if 15 days would be long enough to run for president after he only took leave from his post 15 days before the local elections last year, Ko said: “I have been creating miracles my whole life.”
Citing his mayoral election win in 2014, finishing the one-day 520km “twin tower” bicycle trip in 2016, hosting the Taipei Universiade in 2017 and winning re-election by defeating the two major parties last year as his miracles, Ko said: “However, past miracles do not guarantee the next miracle, but I will try my best.”
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