National Taiwan University (NTU) Hospital’s department of traumatology director Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday that he is taking a year’s leave from the hospital to work on his campaign for the Taipei mayoral election in December next year.
In what appeared to be the strongest hint yet at his determination to participate in the election, the physician said he would take a year’s leave of absence from the NTU Hospital, beginning in January next year, to run his campaign.
“My campaign is now in the second phase, during which the main objective will be establishing a campaign office and fundraising,” said Ko, who is running as an independent and has been leading all the pan-green camp aspirants in most public opinion polls.
Ko said he is open to the “necessary cooperative measures,” including joining the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), if the pan-green camp wants to conduct negotiations among all the aspirants before settling on a final candidate.
The DPP is still in the exploratory phase of its party primary for the Taipei mayoral election, with at least four aspirants having expressed an interest in the candidacy, including former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), DPP Legislator Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財), lawyer Wellington Koo (顧立雄) and Taipei City Council Deputy Speaker Chou Po-ya (周柏雅).
Ko said he had been taking free opportunities to promote himself and his ideas in the first stage of the campaign, in which he has made public appearances at activities organized by other politicians.
In the second phase, Ko hopes to raise at least NT$1 million (US$33,700) for his campaign expenses before May next year and he said part would come from the proceeds of a book he has published.
Several DPP aspirants, in particular Lu, oppose the party’s inclusion of Ko in its public opinion polls, which would determine the party’s final candidate, because he is not a member of the DPP.