TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) candidate for the 2024 presidential election Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) spent one-on-one time with Terry Gou (郭台銘) in Kinmen on Tuesday (May 30), leading to increased speculation that the pair may join forces for Ko’s presidential bid.
Gou was heard in Kinmen jokingly using a phrase that described his commitment to Ko as only ceasing "if the mountains fall and the oceans dry up," (海誓山盟), an idiom usually used to describe romantic love. “The moon represents my heart,” Gou quipped, after the pair were photographed sitting together looking out at the night sky.
Gou, who himself had hoped to run for the presidency on the Kuomintang (KMT) ticket prior to Hou Yu-ih’s (侯友宜) selection, has not yet indicated which presidential candidate he will support. Gou said in April that he would support whomever the KMT nominated for the presidency — adding that Taiwan should avoid another Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government at all costs.
Terry Gou and Ko Wen-je pose for a photo with supporters in Kinmen on Tuesday. (Facebook, Terry Gou photo)
Though Gou is not in the presidential race, he remains an important factor.
A My-Formosa poll released on May 29 showed the DPP’s Lai in the lead, while KMT candidate Hou fell behind Ko in support for the first time. Additional polling released on the same day showed that if Gou formally declared support for either Hou or Ko, that candidate’s support would match Lai.
Political analyst and regular contributor to Taiwan News, Courtney Donovan Smith (石東文), said the Ko-Gou meeting should be considered in the context of Hou's recent drop in support, and the fact that Ko’s trip to Kinmen was long planned, while Gou’s was organized last minute. “This comes across very much like Gou moving to keep himself politically relevant by encouraging intense political speculation on what his next move might be,” Smith said.
Rumors about Gou running as an independent have been circulating, Smith said, which would further complicate an already dynamic presidential race.
Taiwan’s presidential election is scheduled for Jan. 13, 2024.