Foxconn founder expected to announce presidential bid

Terry Gou's aides visited the election agency on Tuesday, lending credibility to the rumors he’s going to run

Aides of Foxconn founder Terry Guo and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je visit Central Election Commission. (CNA photo)

Aides of Foxconn founder Terry Guo and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je visit Central Election Commission. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Foxconn founder Terry Gou (郭台銘) is expected to announce his run for the presidency, according to the top aide of Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), who has been in talks with the tech tycoon about cooperating in the January 2020 election.

Gou and Ko’s aides visited the Central Election Commission together on Tuesday (Sept. 10) afternoon to determine the nominating petition process, a requirement for an independent or non-majority-party candidate, reports said. The move lent plausibility to sweeping speculation that Gou would enter the presidential race.

Speaking with the media after their meeting with CEC officials, Taipei City Government adviser Tsai Pi-ju (蔡壁如) hinted at the possibility of Gou making his presidential announcement soon. Ko would play a key role in campaigning for Gou, Tsai added.

The Taipei mayor has been in discussion with Gou and former Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), who had expressed an interest in representing the KMT in the presidential election but did not take part in the primary. Establishing a new political party in early August, the mayor has pledged to gain representation in the legislature.

After Gou was defeated in the primary by Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) by a wide margin in July, rumors spread he would run independently. For Gou to qualify as a candidate he needs to register at the CEC by Sept. 17 and collect more than 280,000 valid signatures.

Gou’s decision to run for president will certainly anger the KMT, and some party members have threatened to expel Gou and even Wang for not showing solidarity with the party. Reports suggest Gou will announce his departure from the KMT later this week.

The cooperation between Gou, Ko, and Wang is likely to cast a shadow on the KMT’s presidential campaign, particularly since Han’s popularity has waned. Recent polls shown him behind Gou, Ko, and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Even so, at Han’s first major campaign rally held on Sunday (Sept. 8) in New Taipei City, organizers estimated the crowd to be 350,000.

Meanwhile, the New Power Party (NPP) said on Tuesday it does not rule out the possibility of appointing its own presidential nominee. The pro-independence party has so far refrained from supporting Tsai, whose party takes a similar stance on cross-strait issues – as opposed to the China-friendly KMT and Ko’s party.

Nominating legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) for the presidential election is “one of the options” the party is taking into consideration, said Wu Pei-yun (吳佩芸), the NPP's secretary-general. The secretariat will submit a review report for discussion and the party’s leadership and its national congress will make the final decision, she added.