Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), if he runs for president in 2020, might have a similar magnitude of influence as People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), who nearly won the 2000 presidential election as an independent candidate, Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation chairman You Ying-lung (游盈隆) said yesterday.
In a radio interview, You commented on Ko’s rising popularity and his potential candidacy.
“Ko might well be the next James Soong judging from the structure of his support base,” You said.
Soong, who entered the 2000 race as an independent after losing the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential nomination to then-vice president Lien Chan (連戰), was then expelled from the KMT and the party accused him of embezzling millions of US dollars from it in what became known as the Chung Hsing Bills Finance scandal.
Soong lost the election to the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) candidate, Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), by 312,805 votes, but beat Lien by more than 1.7 million votes.
Ko enjoys a degree of popularity similar to Soong’s ahead of the 2000 race and is the nation’s favorite politician, surpassing Premier William Lai (賴清德), You said.
A foundation opinion poll released on Sunday found that Ko scored 66.75 on the “feeling thermometer,” which is gauged between zero and 100, compared with Lai’s 63.44.
However, it remains to be seen if Ko can match Soong’s political influence, You said.
Soong, as a former Taiwan Province governor, had the support of the provincial government and he had built up local political networks loyal to him through decades of effort, You said.
“A fast-rising star like Ko Wen-je might not have the same degree of local support James Soong had,” You said.
Increasing tension between Ko and the DPP is evidence that it finds his popularity threatening, You said.
DPP lawmakers have signed a petition urging the party to nominate its own candidate for next year’s Taipei mayoral election, which it did not do in the 2014 election, and DPP Legislator Cheng Pao-ching (鄭寶清) on Monday accused Ko of trying to curry favor with Beijing and turning voters against the DPP.
“It is the ‘Godzilla’ phenomenon. [Ko has become] a powerful monster that frightens all and provokes attack,” You said.
For people outside the political sphere, Ko’s straightforward manner makes him appear unpretentious and his criticism of the DPP administration’s unpopular policies, such as the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program and pension reforms, have aligned him with the public, You said.
The recent Cabinet reshuffle has shown disappointed supporters that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) can make wise decisions at critical moments, You said, pointing to Sunday’s poll that found her approval rating boosted by 16.6 percentage points to 46.4 percent.
Tsai approved of the unpopular workweek policy, but the new Cabinet must now amend it because employers and employees do not like it, You said.
‘VIRUS DIPLOMACY’: The nation’s expertise in handling COVID-19 was among the reasons that it should not be excluded from the WHO, the European Parliament said The European Parliament this week passed resolutions that support Taiwan’s bid to participate in the WHO and its intention to negotiate a trade pact with Taiwan. During its plenary session from Monday to Thursday, the parliament approved resolutions on the foreign policy consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak and the EU’s trade policy, parts of which were viewed as friendly toward Taiwan by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a statement yesterday, the ministry welcomed the passage of the resolutions and thanked the parliament for its support for Taiwan. In the first resolution, the parliament cited Beijing’s increasing threats to Taiwan, the crackdown on
The gig began with a nun chanting on stage, but suddenly erupted into a wall of noise unleashed by distorted guitars and screamed sutras — the unique sound of Taiwan’s first Buddhist death metal band. The nation has a vibrant metal scene, but few outfits are quite as eye-catching as Dharma (達摩樂隊), a band that aims to deliver enlightenment via the medium of throaty eight-string guitars and guttural roars. Dressed in robes — black, of course — they use traditional Sanskrit sutras as lyrics, but everything else screams death metal, from bloody face paint on stage to growled vocals, relentless riffs and
LOOPHOLES: The people behind biased media content produced by a Chinese network, likely without sending staff to Taiwan, remain anonymous, a source said Beijing’s latest attempt at psychological warfare through heavily biased online media is aimed at sowing discord and polarizing Taiwanese society, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said. The council’s comment came in response to Chinese network Southeast Television, which late last month began broadcasting an online program featuring commentary by Taiwanese unification supporters that authorities suspect was filmed illegally in Taiwan. To circumvent cross-strait regulations, the broadcaster collaborated with online service provider Baidu to air the series titles Diverse Voices From the Taiwan Strait (台海百家說). Only Taiwanese are shown on camera, without revealing the host, interviewer or production team. In one video, political commentator and
A petition has been launched calling for harsher drunk driving penalties in South Korea after a Taiwanese doctoral student was killed by an inebriated driver earlier this month in Seoul. On the evening of Nov. 6, 28-year-old theology student Tseng Yi-lin (曾以琳) was walking home from her professor’s house — crossing the road at a green pedestrian light — when she was hit by a drunk driver. South Korean authorities told Tseng’s parents that the driver would receive a lighter punishment “because the accident happened while the perpetrator was drunk,” the petition said. In response, friends of Tseng on Monday initiated a petition