Aides of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co founder Terry Gou (郭台銘), Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday made a joint visit to the Central Election Commission (CEC) in Taipei to ask about registering as an independent candidate for next year’s presidential election.
They included Evelyn Tsai (蔡沁瑜), deputy chief executive of Gou’s Yonglin Foundation, Taipei City Government adviser Tsai Pi-ju (蔡壁如) and Lynette Lin (林思慧), Wang’s secretary.
They wanted to know how to register as a presidential candidate and whether the commission would be open on Friday, which is a national holiday for the Mid-Autumn Festival, in case they need to register that day, Evelyn Tsai said.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
Asked if her trip meant Gou would launch a signature drive to run as an independent candidate, she said that she wanted to have everything prepared in case Gou makes a decision, but it was up to him to make the decision.
“The three camps will have a good talk about this,” she said.
The commission said it would accept registration for prospective presidential candidates from Friday to Tuesday next week, and would be open on Friday, she said.
If their application is approved, a prospective independent candidate would be able to launch a signature drive on Thursday next week, she said.
Prospective candidates must collect 280,384 valid signatures in support of their bid by Nov. 2 to be considered and the petition papers must be submitted in print, as the commission does not accept petitions collected in electronic form via apps, she said.
Since the commission requires prospective presidential candidates to list their vice presidential candidate on their registration application, “if we are to join the presidential race, we must think about finding a vice president,” Evelyn Tsai said.
Asked if Gou’s running mate could be Ko or Wang, she said the camps had not discussed the issue.
However, asked if the plan was for Gou to run for president, Tsai Pi-ju said: “I suppose so.”
Ko would “provide full support to [Gou’s] campaign,” she said.
Asked about Wang’s role, Lin said the answer should come from the former legislative speaker.
She joined the trip to the CEC to “understand the situation,” she said.
Earlier yesterday, Evelyn Tsai told reporters in Xinyi District (信義) that Gou is still mulling whether to run, adding: “I believe Mr Gou is feeling very conflicted.”
Asked to confirm a report on Monday that Gou would announce on Friday that he would quit the KMT, she said: “The said situation will not happen and will not happen on Friday.”
Asked if that meant Gou would leave it to the KMT to decide whether to keep his membership, she said his team has no control over the KMT’s approach to the matter.
In other developments, attorney Lin Hsien-tung (林憲同), a KMT member, yesterday morning sued Gou at the Taipei District Court for breach of trust and fraud, demanding that he quit the KMT and pay NT$10 billion (US$320.2 million) in compensation for the damage he would cause it by running as an independent presidential candidate.
Gou’s office declined to comment on the lawsuit.
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