Taipei mayor refuses to name presidential choice

Ko Wen-je says good performance for TPP would be five at-large seats

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Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je speaking to reporters Wednesday. 

Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je speaking to reporters Wednesday.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — With the presidential election just days away, Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) on Wednesday (Jan. 8) refused to declare which presidential candidate he would vote for, saying “Not declaring a choice also amounts to declaring a choice.”

Ko, who only months ago was seen as a potential candidate himself, has said he would focus on the 2024 presidential election instead. Last August, he founded the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), which has nominated candidates for Saturday’s (Jan. 11) Legislative Yuan elections.

The usually outspoken mayor told reporters Wednesday that it would be difficult changing an election strategy just 72 hours before polling day, CNA reported.

Looking at his party's prospects in the legislative elections, Ko acknowledged the TPP might only win about five of the 34 at-large seats available. However, he added that it would be a positive performance for a party which had only been founded several months earlier.

The mayor reportedly once said that if Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) “hit” him too hard, he would call on his supporters to vote for opposition Kuomintang (KMT) candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜). Ko has also been seen as maintaining close relations to the third candidate in the presidential race, People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜).

The mayor said that whatever the results might be on Saturday for the presidential election and for the TPP in the legislative race, they would not influence his decision to run in 2024, CNA reported.