Ambiguity over party values has emerged within the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), a source said on Monday, adding that Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), who is the TPP chairman, would need to reflect on how to strengthen party values for it to stand a chance of success in next year’s local elections.
Ko, in his second term as mayor, has said that if everything goes well, he plans to run for president in 2024.
The TPP received more than 1.58 million party votes in its debut election in January last year, winning five legislator-at-large seats and becoming eligible to nominate a presidential candidate for 2024.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the party has some internal problems that need to be addressed, including ambiguous party values and a perceived lack of discourse on issues important to the public by the party’s leadership.
“For example, on the issue of [former Kaohsiung mayor] Han Kuo-yu’s (韓國瑜) recall, the party could not nail down a position,” the source said.
Not having a firm position on the matter was a lost opportunity for the party during the by-election in August last year that followed Han’s recall on June 6, the source added.
“We were routed in Kaohsiung and now Ko’s heart is not in running the party, but he also refuses to quit. This often leads to internal disputes,” the source said. “Ko’s political discourse has not changed since 2014 and he does not like to take a stance on hotly debated political topics. He is out of touch with public opinion, so how can he expect to gain support?”
Meanwhile, TPP Secretary-General Hsieh Li-kung (謝立功) said that the party must accept that Ko’s election successes would likely be limited to Taipei.
“It’s not necessarily the case that the party would have the same success in other counties and municipalities, or that Ko’s popularity would rub off on other party candidates,” Hsieh said.
To prepare for next year’s local elections, the TPP over the coming year would need to get more in touch with the public and build stronger grassroots support by setting up offices throughout the nation, he said.
Ko should leverage his positive track record as Taipei mayor in his potential campaign for president in the 2024 election, Hsieh added.
Hsieh denied that there were any internal problems in the TPP, saying that having a diversity of opinions was normal for a political party.
Given that the TPP is a smaller party, it must prepare early for the local elections, TPP Legislator Tsai Pi-ru (蔡壁如) said, adding that the party had already appointed its five legislators areas of the nation in which to campaign.
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