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Taiwan People’s Party nominates Ko Wen-je as presidential candidate

Ko to hold news conference in Tamsui on May 20

File photo of TPP Chair Ko Wen-je. 

File photo of TPP Chair Ko Wen-je.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) on Wednesday (May 17) named its founder and chair, Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), as its candidate for the 2024 presidential election.

The nomination occurred almost simultaneously with the Kuomintang’s (KMT) announcement of New Taipei City Mayor Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) as its candidate on Wednesday afternoon. In contrast to the KMT event, the TPP candidate did not appear at a news conference.

Ko, who served as Taipei mayor from 2014 to 2022, will hold his first event as a candidate in New Taipei City’s Tamsui District on Saturday (May 20), RTI reported. TPP officials said Ko will emphasize peace, harmony, and reconciliation, in the spirit of Canadian Presbyterian missionary George Mackay, who arrived in Tamsui about 150 years ago.

The Central Committee of the TPP decided unanimously to name Ko as its candidate, as he was the only contender to register in April. On Jan. 13, 2024, Ko will face Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德), who serves as chair of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and Hou of the KMT, as his two main opponents.

KMT leaders expressed a wish to form an anti-DPP alliance, and TPP officials said Ko was willing to cooperate with a wide range of groups on the basis of common ideas. Foxconn founder Terry Gou (郭台銘), who lost his bid for the KMT nomination, was often mentioned by the media as a potential Ko ally.

TPP leaders did not comment on the choice of a running mate, but the media mentioned both Gou and former Taipei City Vice Mayor Huang Shan-shan (黃珊珊) as possibilities.