TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Outspoken Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je said he was considering running for a second and final term, but an opposition poll Friday claimed that more than half the capital’s citizens rejected such a move.
December 25 marks the second anniversary of Ko’s inauguration, and the half-way point for his first term. Most of his past two years in office were dominated by the conflict with developer Farglory Group over the unfinished Taipei Dome.
Ko said his main aim in entering the city government was to “change the enterprise culture” and to run for re-election so he could “engrain the (new) culture in people’s hearts” and expand it nationwide, according to a media interview recorded Thursday and published Friday.
It was impossible to change the local government culture within one four-year term, so he would be open to running for re-election, though he emphasized a presidential election bid in 2020 was out of the question.
The mayor has been falling in several opinion polls, landing near the bottom in popularity lists for all city mayors and county magistrates in the country.
However, Ko said he would make no effort to polish his behavior in order to improve poll ratings. He would never sacrifice the long-term interest for short-term interests, or the public interest for personal interests, the interview quoted him as saying.
Ko complained about present-day politicians being too “packaged,” and not daring to take any clear stance on the issues.
The opposition Kuomintang at the Taipei City Council presented an opinion poll Friday which claimed to show most people in the capital were dissatisfied with Ko and did not want him to run again.
A total of 42.2 percent of respondents expressed satisfaction with the mayor, though 49.7 percent said they were not happy, according to the poll conducted by Apollo Survey and Research Co., Ltd., an affiliate of the Want Want China Times Group.
Asked whether they supported a 2018 re-election bid by Ko, 39.6 percent said yes but 50.1 percent gave a negative reply.
The two things about the mayor residents disliked the most were his personal leadership style, rejected by 60.9 percent, and the Taipei Dome dispute, condemned by 54.9 percent.
The poll was conducted on December 19-20, received 1,083 valid responses with a margin of error of 3 percent.
Ko’s eventual decision also poses a dilemma for President Tsai Ing-wen’s Democratic Progressive Party, which backed the independent in the 2014 election. If his unpopularity grows, the DPP might stop supporting him and nominate a mayoral candidate of its own instead. One theory is also that the ruling party will try to persuade Ko to join the DPP and run in its primary against other candidates.