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Party-less Ko to whisper in DPP chair's ear

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Pan-green Taipei mayor aspirant Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday expressed a wish to communicate with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) over the integration issue regarding Ko's stance in the elections.

Ko, who has been long and openly DPP-sympathetic, had scored the best approval rates in a public survey of the Taipei mayoral hopefuls, but was still undecided about whether he would be running as a DPP representative or as an independent candidate.

The DPP's party regulations have required at least two years of party membership for one to run in political elections, but the party has hinted that it would be willing to drop the regulations for Ko if he represented the party.

Despite previously saying that he would drag out the decision as long as possible, Ko said yesterday that “it cannot be postponed any longer,” and that he would be talking to Su soon regarding his possible integration with the DPP.

According to local media reports, Ko will be announcing his decision not to join the DPP on March 12, actions that seem to contradict his readiness to meet the DPP chair about a supposed “integration.” In response to the rumors, Ko said that he himself had no inkling of the said announcement. “Whatever I say today, there will be 10 media outlets with 10 different versions tomorrow. An announcement is due for any candidate before joining the elections, but I have no yet decided on the time and the contents of my speech yet,” said Ko.

DPP Central Executive Committee member Hong Chih-kun (洪志坤) said he would be proposing an “integration plan” in the DPP's weekly meeting today, meaning that if the party's slated candidate scored an approval rate which is 5-percent lower than that of a Kuomintang (KMT) candidate, the DPP would have to give up nomination and support a non-party candidate instead.

Hong noted that his plan was to prevent the lack of cooperation from the DPP's eventual candidate with Ko, if the former does fail to defeat the KMT candidate by more than 5 percent.

The Opposition Union

Ko has stated numerous times that he expects to run for Taipei mayor as a part of the “Opposition Union,” but he did not make it clear if he would be a part of the main opposition party. The DPP had announced that if Ko did not show up on March 9 — when it would be holding public announcements for its candidate hopefuls — he would not be able to collaborate with the party in the future.

Lu Announces Campaign Team

Former Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), also one of the DPP's Taipei mayor hopefuls, yesterday announced her team of campaign advisors and consultants. The team of 66 people includes former Labor Minister Wang Ju-hsuan (王如玄), former Pingtung County Magistrate Su Chia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) and former Tainan County Magistrate Chen Tang-shan (陳唐山).

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