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May 28, 2017

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Taiwan National Conference chair to lead Ko campaign

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Former New Party Legislator and incumbent Taiwan National Conference (TNC) Chairman Yao Li-ming (姚立明) yesterday was interviewed by local media for the first time since agreeing to act as independent Taipei mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je's (柯文哲) campaign manager.

Yao officially confirmed acceptance of Ko's invitation on Facebook Thursday. Yesterday, during his first interview as Ko's campaign manager, Yao said that he was surprised by the overall positive responses from supporters.

When asked why he accepted Ko's offer, Yao responded by saying that Ko had previously visited his sick mother-in-law after his initial invitation. The gesture greatly moved Yao, and following Ko's second visit, when the mayoral hopeful shared his ideal of Taiwan no longer being a country that is divided between two parties, Yao decided to join Ko's campaign. Ko's ideal greatly resembles his own goal, Yao said.

Yao also stated that Ko has promised to retain his independence should he win the election. The status will allow Ko and his cabinet to be free of party politics and restraints.

Yao has also dismissed claims of joining Ko for a position in the Taipei City Government, stating that Ko has made clear that his campaign staff and his cabinet will consist of different people, as Ko wishes to hire the best people for the right jobs.

Yao Comments on Sean Lien

On his view toward the campaign of the Kuomintang's (KMT) Taipei mayoral candidate Sean Lien (連勝文), Yao referred to Ko's idea stating that cross-strait politics should not be the concern of a Taipei City mayor, and that if Taiwan does not overcome the boundaries of green and blue, then Taiwan would lose the strength it once had.

Yao also reiterated the comment that Lien is not a suitable candidate for Taipei mayor. Citing Lien's family background with cross-strait issues and the KMT's constant domination of northern elections, Yao stated that all things considered, Lien's win would not be a sign of democratic progress.

Yao concluded his interview by stating that an important KMT figurehead is a supporter of Ko's campaign, and that there's a possibility of said figurehead joining Ko's campaign. Should the figurehead get on board, said Ko, the election will go badly for Lien.

Current Election Roundup

In related news, Keelung Municipal Council Speaker Huang Ching-tai (黃景泰) has declared that he will continue to run in the Keelung mayoral race. Huang cited having the right amount of support as a reason to continue his campaign. Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), who is responsible for the Keelung campaign as incumbent KMT vice chair, has stated that though he respects Huang's decision, the move will create an immense amount of pressure for the KMT.

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