Taipei City mayor held secret meeting with Taiwan business leaders

City councilors demand to know whether meeting discussed city administration or election campaign

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Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (first left) faces questions Tuesday August 27 about his meeting with business leaders.

Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (first left) faces questions Tuesday August 27 about his meeting with business leaders. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) had a secret two-hour meeting with a group of top business leaders, but it was not known whether the topic of discussion was the capital’s policies or the 2020 elections, the Liberty Times reported Tuesday (August 27).

Earlier this month, Ko founded the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), but it was still not clear whether he would run for president himself or throw his support behind an eventual bid by Foxconn Technology founder Terry Gou (郭台銘). Presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for January 11, 2020.

Ko’s meeting at Taipei’s Sheraton Hotel Monday (August 26) did not include Gou, but the Liberty Times mentioned a list of eight chairmen or founders of prominent companies, including the Regent Hotel, Walsin Lihwa Corp., Sinyi Realty, Eastern Home Shopping & Leisure, Hotai Motor and Evergreen Sky Catering.

Critics accused the mayor of going back on his promise of clear and transparent relations between the city government and the corporate world by attending the secretive encounter.

Members of the Taipei City Council wanted to know whether Ko had met the business leaders in his capacity of mayor or as the chairman of the TPP, wondering whether he had misused his position as mayor to gain support from corporations for electoral purposes.

They also pointed out that members of the city government had to register all their meetings with business leaders, but that the requirement apparently did not include the mayor himself.

According to the Liberty Times, Ko stayed from 7 until 9 p.m., but a city spokesman only said the mayor had always valued the opinions of the private sector and would listen to their suggestions and evaluate how they could improve the city’s governance.