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Taiwan opposition parties fail to unite

KMT, TPP still stuck on polls issue hours before campaign registration deadline

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Ko Wen-je, Terry Gou, Ma Ying-jeou, Hou Yu-ih, and Eric Chu pose for photographs ahead of a press conference at Taipei's Grand Hyatt Hotel on Thur...

Ko Wen-je, Terry Gou, Ma Ying-jeou, Hou Yu-ih, and Eric Chu pose for photographs ahead of a press conference at Taipei's Grand Hyatt Hotel on Thur...

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Terry Gou (郭台銘) did not get what he hoped for after a meeting he organized between Taiwan’s opposition parties failed to yield a deal on Thursday (Nov. 23).

During a press conference after the meeting, Taiwan People's Party candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) revealed that disagreement over polling was still the main obstacle to a joint presidential run with the Kuomintang's (KMT) Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜). Disagreements between Ko and KMT Chair Eric Chu (朱立倫) became terse at times, and the meeting’s organizer Gou said the outcome was not what he had hoped for.

Foxconn founder Gou opened the press conference by saying the meeting's Grand Hyatt location was moving for him, as that is where his wedding was held. He said former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) attended both that event and the day's meeting.

Gou said he believed the meeting would be between Ko and Hou only, and that he did not expect Chu and Ma to attend. He reported difficulties finding hotel rooms for all five, which was said to have caused Ma an over four hour wait.

When Gou offered Ma the chance to explain his role in the meeting, he was rebuffed. “I am here only to observe, not to make announcements,” Ma shouted off microphone to the large crowd of journalists gathered.

Gou then asked KMT chair Chu to explain his role. When the microphone was handed to Hou and he began to speak, Gou promptly cut him off and repeated his question to Chu. He said as chair it was right for him to oversee the meeting.

When Hou’s turn to speak came he asked Ko permission to read aloud text messages sent between them, to which Ko agreed. The text read described Ko saying that Gou needed a reason to drop out of the election while saving face, and that the meeting provided an opportunity for that.

Ko then told Hou that reading private texts publicly was behavior unbefitting of a presidential candidate. “This is something a commentator does to infer meaning when it isn’t there,” he said, drawing laughter and some applause from the crowd.

“You could have refused,” Hou said twice in response.

A spokesperson for Guo’s office asked Chu a question about opinion polls used by the KMT, which Chu took as an insult. Visibly angry, Chu thanked those in attendance and suddenly left the press conference with Ma.

Gou closed the press conference by saying that it was unfortunate the meeting did not yield a better result on Thanksgiving Day.