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Issue of Ko Wen-je's eligibility remains a headache for DPP

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- As the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) prepares to kick off its nomination process for the year-end Taipei mayoral race, how it will deal with its relationship with independent mayoral aspirant Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) remains the focus of media attention.

The DPP has listed five potential nominees — former Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), lawyer Wellington Koo (顧立雄), lawmakers Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財) and Yao Wen-chih (姚文智), and Taipei Council Deputy Speaker Chou Po-ya (周柏雅).

However, opinion polls since late 2013 have shown 54-year-old Ko, a surgeon who enjoys wide support within the pan-green camp, to be a front-runner among possible non-KMT candidates.

Ko, however, appears reluctant to join the DPP and has instead called for the establishment of an “opposition coalition.”

The DPP is expected to nominate a candidate from among the five DPP aspirants before embarking on further negotiations with Ko on the possibility of integration.

According to former DPP Legislator Lin Cho-shui, Ko's high popularity reflects voters' lack of confidence in both the DPP and the ruling Kuomintang (KMT).

Under these circumstances, the DPP should not insist on nominating its own candidate and should adopt Ko's proposal to form an “opposition coalition” to increase the chances of beating the KMT, Lin said.

With Ko enjoying wide support not only in Taipei but also in other areas around the country, backing Ko's mayoral bid could also help boost the DPP's overall campaign in the year-end local elections, he added.

KMT's Sean Lien, son of former Vice President Lien Chan, announced his bid to vie for the Taipei mayoral position Monday. Lien is widely seen as a strong contender against any candidate from the pan-green camp led by the DPP.

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