Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday encouraged People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) to “stride fearlessly forward” in his presidential bid, but declined to say if he would support Soong.
Ko was in the morning asked to comment on Soong’s widely expected bid, which Soong announced later in the day.
Ko said that he had been discussing with his aides about what pleasantries to put on flowers he would send to Soong’s news conference, finally deciding on the Chinese idiom “stride fearlessly forward” (勇往直前).
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
The latest issue of Chinese-language Want Weekly magazine, published yesterday, cited an anonymous source as saying that Soong had wanted to cooperate with Ko in next year’s legislative elections and even considered nominating him to run for president, but the plans were abandoned after Ko formed the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) in August.
While Ko has said that forming the TPP was a spur-of-the-moment decision, the source said that Ko had been planning it for about four months and had secretly “poached” the PFP’s talent, such as asking then-PFP Taipei City Councilor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) to become a Taipei deputy mayor and former PFP Taipei city councilor Lin Kuo-cheng’s (林國成) daughter Lin Chen-yu (林珍羽) to become TPP spokeswoman.
According to the source, many of Ko’s fan clubs in southern Taiwan were established by PFP members, so some PFP members think that Ko had been intentionally “deceiving” the party, the magazine said, adding that Soong’s decision to run for president again is aimed at preventing the PFP legislative caucus from unraveling.
Ko, who is also TPP chairman, said that Soong’s presidential bid would likely affect the TPP’s number of legislator-at-large seats.
However, if everyone does what they do best, it would be in the nation’s best interest, Ko said, adding that while the TPP would do its best in the final 60 days before the election, he would still give his blessing to Soong.
Ko cited Soong as telling him that rather than let the two largest parties bicker, his participation in the presidential election would allow him to have a say in more important issues.
However, asked if he would support Soong, with whom he used to have a good relationship, in the presidential election, Ko said that he would send his blessings to Soong.
The presidential election is conducted by secret ballot, he said, brushing off the question.
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