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Winning mayoralty more important than DPP membership: Ko

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Pan-green Taipei mayoral aspirant Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) declared yesterday that his current priority is winning the Taipei mayoral elections instead of a decision on whether to join the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Despite his open sympathies for the main opposition party over many years, Ko has not decided whether to run in the upcoming mayoral elections as an individual candidate or as a member of the DPP. At present, the question of his party membership is of less importance than actually winning the elections, Ko remarked.

After declaring his candidacy, Ko was prompted by many, including DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), to clarify where his loyalties lie, as the DPP's regulations call for at least two years of membership as a prerequisite for running as a party candidate in public elections.

Taiwan has been a polarized society for the past 30 years, and is spinning idly, said Ko. “(Taiwan) should adopt the concept of 'the people as the government,' and think about what the society's main problems are and then map out a solution.”

No More Two-stage Primaries: Su

Several pan-green groups held a joint press conference last Saturday, saying that Ko, a physician at National Taiwan University Hospital and Taipei mayoral aspirant, does not necessarily need to join the DPP to gain the party's nomination in the election. In light of Ko's growing popularity over the past few months, pan-green groups have urged the DPP to conduct a national poll to measure support for Ko and other DPP hopefuls.

The groups explained that as 30 percent of the population of Taipei comes from other cities across the country, they believe that the results of a national poll can provide a solid reference for the DPP to consider when deciding on who to nominate.

After the press conference, Su announced that there will not be a two-stage primary election, contrary to the party's original plans.

The suggestion was interpreted as an act of good will by many, but Ko said that there is no need to emphasize the good will. “But this will indeed make things less complicated, and will lower the tension caused by the primaries; the public need not make unneeded interpretations too,” said Ko.

In reply to his wife's lack of support for his bid to join the DPP, Ko noted that his wife will be behind his ultimate decision. “My wife is well educated and has her own way of thinking.”

Ko also noted that he will ask for leave from National Taiwan University Hospital in a month, as the school semester has not yet ended.

Su said that the “Ko Wen-je phenomenon” is worthy of observation, noting that since the Kuomintang (KMT) has not yet settled on its candidate for Taipei mayor, there is no hurry for the DPP to make their own decision at the moment.

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