Lawyer confirms mayoral election interest

MAINLANDER BACKGROUND::Pan-green lawyer Wellington Koo said he would look to winning support from voters who would usually vote for the pan-blue camp

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Sep 26, 2013 - Page 3

Lawyer Wellington Koo (顧立雄), formerly a long-term legal adviser of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), yesterday expressed his interest in gaining the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) nomination for running in next year’s Taipei mayoral election.

Speaking to reporters in his law firm yesterday morning, Koo said he “is thinking about giving [the election] a shot” after struggling with the idea that it could affect his family and professional career as a lawyer.

Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and National Taiwan University (NTU) physician Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) were reportedly also interested in entering the race. They have not yet made an official announcement.

Given the city’s pro-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) electoral history, Taipei City is seen as one of the DPP’s “weak” constituencies, with Chen Shui-bian being the only DPP Taipei mayor in history after winning a three-way race in 1994.

“Maybe [the election] is worth a try for a 55-year-old. Win or lose, I would have no regret. If I don’t give it a try, perhaps I will regret it for the rest of my life,” said Koo, who has represented former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), Chen Shui-bian and Chen’s son-in-law, Chao Chien-ming (趙建銘), in various lawsuits.

Koo’s bid is particularly interesting because of his mainlander background, in sharp contrast to the Hoklo background of the majority of DPP candidates in past elections.

The lawyer added that the most important factor for his victory would be winning support from voters with a similar mainlander background, who almost always voted for the pan-blue camp.

“I’m hoping that they will not immediately count me out if I decide to run in the election,” Koo told reporters.

However, the final nomination would be decided through the DPP’s primary mechanism, which stipulates that negotiations and polls would be introduced in constituencies with multiple candidates and authorizes the party chairman to designate a candidate in “weak” constituencies.

Responding to the announcement at an event in Changhua County yesterday, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) confirmed that he had asked Koo about his possible candidacy after several members recommended the lawyer.

Ko reaffirmed his interest in running in the mayoral election and said he had been “making preparations” for the election by making consultative visits to senior DPP members, such as former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷).

According to the DPP, the party would establish a coordination panel on the Taipei mayoral election next week.

DPP heavyweights welcomed the competition, with Hung Yao-fu (洪耀福), spokesperson of Tsai Ing-wen’s office, saying in a press release that Tsai viewed both as excellent candidates to bring about changes to the capital.