Amid increasing tension between the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), DPP Legislator Cheng Pao-ching (鄭寶清) yesterday criticized the mayor, saying he lacked a firm political stance. Cheng urged the party to nominate its own candidate in the Taipei mayoral election next year.
In a radio interview, Cheng said the DPP should break its alliance with the independent mayor, as Ko has directed a series of criticism against the party, a move that has turned voters against the DPP.
Ko has apparently shifted along the political spectrum, from his self-proclaimed “deep green” to “light green,” “light blue,” “deep blue” and recently to “light red,” Cheng said, referring to Ko’s apparently Beijing-friendly comment that “the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are one family.”
Ko has criticized the DPP administration on various issues, such as the Cabinet for the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program, the Mainland Affairs Council and National Security Council for making him “face the Communists alone” during the twin-city forum between Taipei and Shanghai in July, and the Ministry of Culture over the preservation of historic buildings.
“Ko has claimed to be our ally, but he has been criticizing the president and government bodies behind their back. That makes him more daunting than the enemies,” Cheng said.
The criticisms are unfounded, but have swayed voters against the DPP, Cheng said.
“Ko’s election is more damaging to us [the DPP] than the election of a KMT mayoral candidate,” he added.
Asked if it is in the DPP’s best interest to keep Ko in Taipei to pre-empt his potential presidential bid in 2020, Cheng said re-election could not prevent Ko from competing with the DPP.
“He would still seek presidency in 2020 if he is re-elected as Taipei mayor, so the DPP should not overthink the options and should defend its own policies instead of forfeiting the capital to the ever-changing Ko,” he said.
Cheng has launched a petition urging the DPP to nominate its own candidate in the next Taipei mayoral election.
Cheng said the petition was signed by more than 30 legislators late last month, when a marathon vote on the infrastructure program budget proposals was taking place at the Legislative Yuan, but Ko was continuously criticizing the program.
The legislators “shared bitter hatred against the enemy” and signed the petition within 10 minutes, he said, adding that almost all the DPP legislators who were there signed it without hesitation, and even local councilors expressed their opposition to Ko.
The DPP is obliged to comply with the petition if it receives approval in the DPP National Congress scheduled for Sunday, during which nomination measures for next year’s nine-in-one local elections are expected to be passed.
“Many [DPP] supporters have vowed to give up supporting the party if it continues to back Ko,” Cheng said, adding that more than 70 percent of DPP supporters said that the party should nominate its own candidate.
The most apparent outcome of the petition was that Ko stopped criticizing the DPP, Cheng said.
The DPP on Wednesday approved a nomination statute for next year’s mayoral and councilors elections, including a “Ko Wen-je article” that reserves the possibility of cooperating with Ko again.
The petition is an apparent attempt to counter the “Ko Wen-je” article.
Many pan-green camp groups are using the Line messaging app to initiate similar petitions to urge the DPP to nominate its own candidate, according to a member of a DPP local organization.
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