Taipei-A possible alliance between tycoon Terry Gou (???), independent Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (???) and former Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (???) in the 2020 presidential election would undermine unity in the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) and potentially cost its presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu (???) victory in the race, lawmakers said Tuesday.
Speculation has recently increased as to whether Gou, founder and former chairman of iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry, is mulling an independent run for the presidency since losing the KMT presidential primary to Han in mid-July.
Earlier Tuesday, an aide to Gou disclosed that the billionaire is "seriously considering a run for president" and will announce his decision before Sept. 17, the deadline for registration as a presidential candidate.
Since losing the primary, Gou has been trying to ally himself with Ko and Wang, with the former thought by many earlier in the year to be a likely candidate in the presidential election himself.
Meanwhile, Wang, a senior KMT member has insisted he plans to run for president since withdrawing from the KMT presidential primary process in June, but has not said if he will run as an independent.
A recent TVBS poll that pitted Gou against President Tsai Ing-wen (???) and Han had Tsai on 33 percent support to Han's 31 percent and Gou's 29 percent.
Asked to comment if an alliance between Guo, Ko and Wang would impact Han's chances of winning the presidential race, several KMT lawmakers expressed their concern to CNA Tuesday.
KMT lawmaker Chen Shei-saint (???) told CNA that should Gou choose to run, that would split the KMT and inevitably cost Han the presidency.
Chen said whenever the pan-blue camp has put up more than one candidate at a major election, it has gifted victory to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate, citing the 1994 Taipei mayoral race and 2000 presidential election.
Another KMT lawmaker Chen Yu-jen (???) expressed the same concern.
Many KMT supporters are extremely worried that if Gou runs for president it would benefit sitting President Tsai of the ruling DPP who is seeking reelection.
Chen called on party chairman Wu Den-yih (???) to arrange a meeting between Gou and Han soon to head off a serious split in the party.
Echoing the same view, a DPP source told CNA that since most of Gou's supporters would normally vote for the KMT, if the tycoon chooses to run as an independent, it would be a major blow to Han and therefore boost President Tsai's chances of winning.
Citing recent polls, the source said Tsai enjoys a comfortable lead against Han in the presidential race.
Should a third party choose to join the race, the president remains in the lead, but by less than if there are only two presidential candidates, the source cited poll results as saying.
In order to win reelection, the DPP will continue to tout the achievements of Tsai's three year in office in the hope of garnering more support, regardless of whether Gou decides to run or not, the source added.
Meanwhile, Huang Tzu-che (???) from the KMT's Cultural and Communications Committee, also said that a Gou presidential bid would undermine party unity.
Huang admitted that Gou's bid could reduce support for Han, but said he might also attract votes from Tsai supporters.
He said he is confident in Han's presidential bid because the Kaohsiung mayor continues to enjoy a solid 30-percent support rate despite been the target of non-stop DPP attacks since winning the party primary, meaning Han's diehard fans are sticking with their man.
Commenting on the possible alliance and its impact, former KMT legislator Sun Ta-chien (???), a member of Han's campaign team, said he still believes both Gou and Wang will not join the race.
Sun said the two are honorary and senior KMT members, respectively. "I do not believe Gou will abandon the party," he noted.
He called reports of such an alliance a "non-issue" and stressed that all KMT members will stand by the party's candidate in the 2020 presidential race.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel