Taipei, Taipei Mayor Ko Wenje an outspoken independent, remains undecided on whether or not to jump into the presidential race in January 2020, despite growing speculation about his involvement in the wake of the nation's two largest political parties recently choosing their candidates.
The 59yearold Ko was noncommittal on his plans when asked by reporters again Sunday, after the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) officially nominated Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuoyu as its presidential candidate earlier the same day.
However, Ko, whose participation is likely to change the dynamic of the election, especially for President Tsai Ingwen who is seeking reelection, told the press that he would consider cooperating with business tycoon Terry Gou in the upcoming election as long as it is in the interest of Taiwan.
He praised Gou, former chairman of Hon Hai Precision Co., the world's largest provider of electronic manufacturing services, as a business genius, who he said, nevertheless, is still a political novice.
Ko said he would consider joining forces with Gou based on Taiwan's comprehensive interests and optimizing the benefits for the people of Taiwan.
Gou lost to Han by nearly 20 percent in the KMT presidential primary in midJuly, a result that sparked media speculation as to whether the influential businessman would run as an independent.
In a survey by the greenleaning CrossStrait Policy Association July 1516, on a hypothetical three wayrace for the presidency that includes Ko, Tsai won 36.3 percent support to Han's 33.7 percent and Ko's 22.3 percent.
Even if Gou joined the election and turned it into a fourway race, Tsai (33.1 percent) and Han (29.9 percent) remained at the top, while Gou and Ko received 16.9 percent and 14 percent support, respectively, according to the poll results published July 17.
Now the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and KMT have selected their presidential candidates, whether Ko and Gou will throw their hat into the race has become a focus of media coverage.
On Sunday Ko told reporters that Gou has not yet answered his questions because he is currently on an overseas trip. However, Ko declined to say what questions he asked Gou.
If Ko wants to join the presidential election as an independent, he has to collect 280,000 endorsements from supporters before the Sept. 17 deadline for candidacy applications, according to existing regulations.
The mayor revealed a few days ago that he will announce his decision in early September.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel