Circumstances are putting too much pressure on the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to nominate its own Taipei mayoral candidate, DPP caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said.
The DPP supported independent Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) in 2014, but whether it should support Ko’s bid for a second term has become a heated topic of discussion, as a number of party members have announced their intention to run in the DPP’s Taipei primary and some pan-green camp supporters have questioned Ko’s pro-Taiwanese independence stance.
Ker in a radio interview on Friday said that he has often warned Ko that if he wants to get involved with politics, he cannot say whatever he wants or offend a lot of people, but added: “This is Ko’s personality — he has his own opinions.”
He once asked Ko to be more tolerant like him, after which “Ko told the media: ‘Ker Chien-ming told me to be tolerant, so I will not talk right now,’” Ker said, adding that only two or three days passed before Ko was speaking unrestrained again.
Whether the DPP should nominate its own candidate or support Ko’s re-election is a troublesome issue for the party, Ker said, adding that it is under too much pressure from the public and political commentators to nominate a candidate.
Ker said he is not in the DPP’s Electoral Strategy Committee and has not been consulted on the issue.
He said he would respect the committee’s decision and believes that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has the wisdom to solve this problem.
Separately on Friday, committee convener Chen Ming-wen (陳明文) said the DPP’s Central Executive Committee would wait until next month, after the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is to announce its mayoral candidate, to discuss the committee’s strategy regarding the Taipei election.
The KMT is scheduled to host its Taipei mayoral primary at the end of this month, a DPP member said on condition of anonymity.
Theoretically, KMT Taipei mayoral candidate hopeful Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) should be focused on garnering support for his bid, but has kept an unusually low profile in recent days, the source said.
Most polls show that DPP supporters in Taipei want the party to nominate its own candidate, the source said, but added that some polls also show that Ko would absorb many pan-blue camp votes.
Only after the KMT confirms its candidate could the DPP analyze the situation and formulate the most advantageous plan, the source said.
“Everyone wants the DPP to nominate its own candidate, but when you ask them who the DPP should nominate, they are unable to answer,” a senior DPP official said.
Although it seems that the Taipei mayoral election is overheated, the election is still missing a strong candidate who could defeat Ko, another DPP member said.
Senior party officials are to evaluate DPP Legislator and Taipei mayoral candidate hopeful Pusuya Yao’s (姚文智) march today, the source said, adding that the officials are to take aspects, such as attendance, into consideration.
Ko still holds the same attitude he has always held: No matter how the outside world changes, doing his job well would be the best preparation for a second term, Taipei City Government spokesman Liu Yi-ting (劉奕霆) said, adding that Ko would strive to gain the support of as many people as possible.
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