Taipei mayor could announce presidential bid next month

Ko more likely to run if Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu wins KMT primaries: reports

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Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je replying to reporters' questions Thursday July 11.

Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je replying to reporters' questions Thursday July 11. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) is likely to announce a presidential bid next month, media reports said Thursday (July 11).

Ko is reportedly waiting until the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) has picked its contender for the January 11, 2020 election. The party is in the middle of a contentious opinion poll process to close on July 14.

Media reports suggested Thursday that if Kaohsiung City Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) won the KMT primaries, it would become more likely that Ko, an independent, would launch a run.

In response to the reports, the capital’s mayor said he was still reflecting on the issue and considering what the nation’s direction should be, the Central News Agency reported.

Ko said he would not address issues until they occurred, referring to media reports about his relations with smaller political groups.

The New Power Party, whose student activist leaders were seen as largely supportive of the mayor over the past years, said that it will not be able to back a “pro-Chinese” or “Chinese-leaning” candidate in the presidential election.

The comment was seen of a reference to the mayor’s description of Taiwan and China as “one family,” a formula he repeated during last week’s trip to attend a forum in Shanghai. The term has lost Ko many of his original supporters from the pro-Taiwan camp.

On the other hand, the small People First Party led by veteran presidential candidate James Soong (宋楚瑜) was recently rumored to cooperate with Ko should he launch a bid.

In addition, a KMT member of the Taipei City Council, Chung Hsiao-ping (鍾小平) announced his departure from the party earlier this week, adding he wanted to form an alliance of neighborhood leaders to back a presidential bid by Ko once the mayor made an announcement.

Ko replied to Chung’s move by saying the politician might have gone too far.