Hon Hai Precision Industry Co founder Terry Gou (郭台銘) on Monday announced that he will run in next year’s presidential election as an independent candidate, pledging to bring 50 years of peace to Taiwan, double the nation’s GDP growth rate and bring prosperity to the public.
Touting finance and business management chops, Gou said the era of “entrepreneurs’ rule” has come and only he has the skills needed in a future president of Taiwan. He also called for unity among “anti-green coalition” opposition party candidates to remove the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) from power.
“I am not a conventional politician. I am doing it to change Taiwan’s economy and people’s livelihood. As a political freshman, there are many aspects I still need to learn,” he wrote on Facebook on Friday.
Yet, as a politics newbie, he and his campaign team’s remarks do not show modesty, but a disrespect for fundamental values of democracy and to the integrity needed in a trustworthy politician, as well as to professionalism needed in policymaking.
Before Monday, Gou held several campaign-like events across Taiwan in the name of a “Mainstream Public Opinion Alliance,” but as public opinion is often reflected in polling results, recent numbers all showed Gou as having the lowest support rate when running against DPP candidate Vice President William Lai (賴清德), Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman Ko Wen-je (柯文哲).
While many remember Gou’s remark that “democracy does not help GDP growth … democracy is a process, not the fruit, and only the economic fruit can feed stomachs,” local media in June reported Gou expressing confidence in a “merger and acquisition” of the TPP in the upcoming election, implying his disregard for party politics and lack of sincerity in negotiating.
Gou also demonstrated his arrogance towards the process in a news conference on Monday. Reporters were forced to wait by venue elevators, with the event opening about 30 minutes later than scheduled. Gou called the press a “manufacturing industry” that needs to create political issues; accused a Singaporean correspondent of no longer being impartial, but of having “learned from Taiwanese media” to “set traps” in his question for him, and deflected when asked about China.
In a May speech he said that “nine out of 10 politicians tell lies, and the other is still in training” while joking that he is still training, yet his actions suggest he might already be well-trained.
Many KMT supporters have criticized him for his broken promises to support Hou. Several media outlets also cited a 2017 CNN news report, listing a number of big investment announcements by Hon Hai around the world since 2011 which have yet to materialize.
To make matters worse, Gou’s two “team members,” former Department of Health minister Yaung Chih-liang (楊志良) as think tank member, and nuclear power advocate Huang Shih-hsiu (黃士修) as spokesperson, further reflect an erosion of professionalism.
Yaung last Sunday said domestic violence exists “because the public is unable to beat up President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁), so they take it out on people weaker than they are, by beating up their wives and children,” and said on Monday that “Taiwanese men’s sperm are becoming infertile and women are relying on egg freezing to give birth” as they are eating ractopamine-laced pork and irradiated food due to Tsai’s policies.
It is unclear if Gou will succeed in collecting 290,000 signatures needed to qualify as an independent, or if he will succeed in “integrating” opposition party candidates, but his remarks and actions raise serious concerns about competence.
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