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As mayoral race nears, Ko mulls joining DPP

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Pan-green hopeful for the 2014 Taipei Mayor elections Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday stated that he was still undecided about whether he would join the main opposition party.

A physician of National Taiwan University Hospital, Ko is openly pan-green, and has expressed his wishes to run for the much-coveted position along with lawyer Wellington Ku (顧立雄) and former Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮). Despite having received popular feedback and support from pan-green voters, Ko earlier this month professed uncertainty in terms of running in the elections as a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate, saying that he is concerned about the less-than-friendly ties between Chairman Su Tseng-chang and former Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

After having shocked many devoted DPP supporters and party members alike with his remarks that joining the party would be “shutting the lion in a cage” and refusing to “enter a dangerous region,” Ko stated that he would be coming to a decision very soon and that Su welcomed him to join the DPP in their most recent meeting.

According to Ko, Su had asked to him refrain from making similar remarks in the future since they were “on the same team,” to which Ko consented.

“Important things should not be rushed,” said Ko, who added that he had conflicting thoughts about the membership issue. “Elections are not a one-man thing; the campaigning team is involved as well. I think I will decide after Chinese New Year, which comes earlier this year. Anyway I won't be dragging this over three months.”

Su and Ko's Consensus

Yesterday's meeting saw the physician and chairman reach a consensus, with both understanding that the pan-green camps should be united in order to secure people's votes, said DPP spokesman Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲). “Both of them acknowledged one another's attitudes and viewpoints regarding the elections. The party has its own regulations and stances; it will definitely nominate its own candidate.”

However, DPP Secretary-General Lin Hsi-yao (林錫耀) also explained to Ko that if the party chose to draft a non-member for its ultimate candidate, said nominee will not have to stand by the DPP's two-year rule; which deems that party members are allowed to be nominated only after at least two years in the party.

“If we eventually collaborate, Su will list his conditions,” said Ko.

Ko's opponent Ku said that he hoped Ko will make up his mind about the party membership soon, adding that Ko's decision will make the competition a much more simple issue.

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