Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said he would not register as an independent candidate in next year’s presidential election, and respects Hon Hai Precision Industry Co founder Terry Gou’s (郭台銘) decision not to run, even though the announcement came as a surprise.
Ko has considered running for a long time, but has always said he would make a decision by yesterday, the Central Election Commission’s deadline to register as an independent candidate.
For the past couple of months, Ko has repeatedly expressed his support for Gou and offered to help him collect petition signatures if he decides to run.
“I had originally decided to assist [Gou’s] election campaign, but his decision came too suddenly — I am just as shocked as all of you are,” Ko said.
Gou only informed him about his decision shortly before he announced it to the public, Ko said.
He said he respects Gou’s decision and would not view it as an “assault,” but if Gou had made the decision a month ago, there would have been plenty of time for him to prepare his own bid.
Asked whether Gou had approached him about being his running mate, Ko said that he had long ago rejected the proposal, as he would rather run for president himself and knew it would have been difficult to handle his mayoral duties while running for vice president.
Ko also read a prepared three-page statement responding to Gou’s decision in which he said: “I have never said I would run in next year’s presidential election, but the pan-blue and pan-green camps kept seeing me as an imaginary enemy and putting me in their primary opinion polls.”
“Running for president right after being elected mayor is not a situation that should occur in a normal country, as it would affect municipal administration,” he said, adding that if he could change the political culture in Taipei, it could affect the rest of the nation.
Ko said he was anxious when the presidential candidates of the two major parties were decided, as Taiwan is to get bogged down in a battle between pro-unification and pro-independence ideologies, but what the nation really needs is to improve the efficiency, practicality and performance of its governance.
The election is now to be between the pan-blue and pan-green camps, meaning that it is important for the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) to win some legislator-at-large seats, so it can become the key minority in the Legislative Yuan, he said.
If the two major parties do not win more than half of the seats in the legislature next year, then TPP legislators could cooperate with both parties to reduce the opposition’s unreasonable opposition and monitor the ruling party’s unscrupulous behavior, Ko said, adding that the TPP would nominate at least 34 candidates for legislator-at-large seats.
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