Sat, Jul 20, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Ko says election a ‘caobao,’ ‘caibao’ choice

By Tsai Ya-hua and Hsieh Chun-lin  /  Staff reporters

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je speaks to reporters in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

Taiwanese face a choice between a caobao (草包, “country bumpkin”) and a caibao (菜包, “veggie bun”) in next year’s presidential election, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday, an apparent reference to the candidates of the Chinese National Party (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Caobao (literally, “straw bag”) is a nickname critics of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) — the KMT’s pick — have given him, while caibao is a play on President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) family name, which is a homophone of the Chinese word for “vegetable.”

“It is a terrible situation indeed,” Ko said.

Ko made the remarks in response to media queries about a TVBS News poll, which showed Han as the frontrunner for January’s vote with an approval rating of 40 percent, with Tsai and Ko at 28 percent and 27 percent respectively.

Ko has not announced a bid for the presidency, but is regularly featured in such polls.

Poll numbers from the pan-blue and pan-green camps have fluctuated markedly over the past few months, Ko said, adding that he does not believe politics should be dominated by elections.

Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) — a DPP member — said that Ko’s remarks appear to have been meticulously timed and scripted.

Ko’s aides might have tailored a strategy for him to boost his popularity by demeaning politicians from the pan-green and pan-blue camps, Cheng said.

However, municipal affairs should remain a mayor’s top priority, regardless of whether they are to contest the presidency, he said.

DPP Legislator Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬) said that Ko and Han are “two of a kind,” as they “talk a lot and compete over how fast.”

However, Ko has an advantage: He can malign the DPP and the KMT, while Han only has the DPP to criticize, Cheng Yun-peng said, adding that it is convenient that two of the poorest-performing mayors who have the fewest achievements have others to criticize.

New Power Party Legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said that Ko has been trying to justify his entry into the presidential race and market himself as an “indispensable alternative” to Tsai and Han.

When Ko feels that he has enough public support, he will announce his bid, Hsu said.

That would require him to exceed the threshold for a petition, Hsu said.

Additional reporting by Hsieh Wu-hsiung

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