Thu, Sep 19, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Ko explains visit to CEC on registration deadline

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je gestures as he speaks to reporters at Taipei City Hall yesterday.

Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said that he visited the Central Election Committee (CEC) on Tuesday afternoon to explain to his parents his decision not to register as a presidential candidate.

Ko on Tuesday morning said that he did not have time to prepare a campaign and would not register as an independent candidate for next year’s election.

However, he was seen outside the committee’s office shortly after the 5:30pm deadline for independent candidate registration, sparking speculation.

At about that time, former Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislator Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) was arguing with committee staff, saying that she had Ko’s national identification card and wanted to register him as a candidate, despite being told that the deadline had passed.

Asked why he was at the office, Ko said that many passionate supporters had continued to urge him to run for president and had invited his mother to accompany them as they registered him as a candidate, so he went to “take her away.”

“My mother represents the anxiety of Taiwanese over the situation, as she called me in the morning to ask what we should do after [Hon Hai Precision Industry Co founder] Terry Gou (郭台銘) decided not to run for president,” Ko said, adding that he told her that Taiwan is not in such a dangerous situation.

Taking out his national identification card from his wallet, Ko jokingly said that fortunately, he always keeps his identification card with him, otherwise other people could have registered him as a candidate.

“I never had much intention to run for president,” he said, adding that he found it interesting that about half of his aides — mostly those younger than 50 — did not support him running for president.

Asked if he had recently approached People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), Ko said that he contacted Soong about wanting to meet, but Soong told him that they should wait until “the situation is settled after Sept. 17.”

Asked about speculation that he might ask the PFP to nominate him as its presidential candidate and whether he intends to cooperate with the party, Ko said that he has good personal ties with Soong, so it would depend on what the cooperation is for.

Ko said that strategically, he believes he has a better chance of being elected than Gou, but added that he does not like the idea of leaving his duties as mayor at the beginning of a term to run for president, which has not happened in Taipei’s history.

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