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Ko prompts Lien to stick to NT$80 mil. budget, stay 'sincere'

Pan-green Taipei mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said he welcomed his Kuomintang counterpart Sean Lien (連勝文) cutting his campaign budget and staying sincere in politics.

According to local media reports, Ko was aware of his fierce competition with Lien, but stated that one's campaign budget should not be set over NT$80 million, which was Ko's own budget.

Lien's spokesman Chien Cheng-yu (錢震宇) noted that the Lien camp has also set the budget at a roughly estimated NT$80 million, but every dollar will be spent wisely.

Ko said he welcomed the cut in Lien's supposedly larger budget, and that he believes people should stay sincere in politics after the sums were announced. Both pan-blue and pan-green camps have set their campaign budgets at NT$80 million.

The National Taiwan University Hospital physician had visited former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) last week for the latter's advice on running for the much coveted position of mayor; Ko noted that he was only able to discuss limited strategies with Su as “both were very busy.” But Ko has started to plan future meetings.

Previous meetings between the two concerned the “pan-green integration” procedure, of which Ko's joining the DPP was a key factor. In the end, Ko ultimately decided that he would be running for Taipei Mayor as an individual candidate and would be representing all pan-green camps after he won out in the pan-green public surveys.

“Su has served as magistrate of both Pingtung County and Taipei County, so he has instructed me on a lot of political strategies ... and also provided me with his previous political goals from when he was running for Taipei City Mayor, I will be studying them thoroughly in the future,” said Ko, who added that whether Su would be assisting him in campaigning was not discussed in their brief meeting.

Surpassing Blues and Greens?

As Su's slogan from his campaign for Taipei Mayor in 2010 was “Surpass,” indicating his wish to bring politics in Taipei beyond pan-blues and pan-greens, Ko was asked about whether his political beliefs matched those of Su. Ko replied that if one wishes to surpass the current political preferences, the environment has to be taken into consideration. “It would be easier to succeed in Taiwan's current atmosphere,” Ko said.

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