With just over 100 days to go until the presidential and legislative elections, talk about forming a “non-green” alliance to remove the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) from power has re-emerged among pan-blue supporters, refocused toward the goal of a “blue-white” cooperation.
Many recent opinion polls showed that the DPP’s presidential candidate, Vice President William Lai (賴清德), continues to lead with more than 30 percent of support when running against two or three opponents, but would lose to the support of the “blue” Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) and the “white” Taiwan People’s Party’s (TPP) presidential candidates added together.
After the KMT’s presidential candidate, New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), said last week that he would take three months leave from his mayoral post to devote himself to the election campaign, KMT politicians, including its Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), have been calling for “blue-white” cooperation, claiming that it is the consensus of the public and a must to defeat Lai.
Meanwhile, as the TPP faces pressure to respond to the proposal, its members and its chairman and presidential candidate, Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), who last month said he would “definitely run in the election as the TPP’s presidential candidate to the end,” now seem undecided, as Ko changed his response to the question several times throughout the week.
On Wednesday, Ko sarcastically asked what kind of cooperation the KMT had in mind, as it is unwilling to compete on polling results and insists on having its candidate run. Ko on Thursday said that “there would certainly be an alliance by the end of the 2024 election, but the question is the form of cooperation.” He later said cooperation should be based on values, ideals and policies, instead of discussion on the distribution of power and positions, which would not be supported by the public.
Ko on the same day called for a coalition government, so blue-white, green-blue or green-white cooperations are all possible, and his goal is for Taiwan to have a parliamentary system.
However, Ko campaign spokeswoman Chen Chih-han (陳智菡) on Friday said the TPP believes that the strongest opposition candidate should be decided by a credible third party through a polling system, and that the losing candidate should quit the race.
Independent presidential candidate and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co founder Terry Gou (郭台銘), who had pursued the KMT’s presidential nomination and tried to “merge” with the TPP earlier this year, has had the lowest support in recent polls. As a result, the KMT and the TPP seem to have realized that Gou is no longer a threat or a necessary or beneficial ally, but that they both know they might need each other to defeat Lai.
However, how to establish blue-white cooperation remains the key challenge that pan-blue supporters want to solve, as Ko and Hou are unwilling to concede and become the other’s running mate, nor are they likely to drop out of the race, as their support is close in some polls.
Many people believe the KMT would not give up its presidential candidacy as it controls more than half of the local governments, and has many more legislators and councilors than the TPP, and because the party has confidence that Hou’s support rate would rise once mayors and county commissioners begin to endorse him.
Yet some TPP members are concerned that the party would no longer be able to influence legislative decisions if Ko truly were to work with the KMT. Some people also wonder whether Ko can persuade his mostly young demographic of supporters that collaborating with the KMT is not a betrayal of their ideals and expectations.
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