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Ko not backing off regarding Yao's challenges

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Pan-green Taipei mayoral aspirant Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday declared that he will not be backing out of the slated debates with his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) opponent Yao Wen-chi (姚文智).

Yao won the party primaries a week ago and immediately invited Ko to a series of debates. The DPP has scheduled for a second-stage primary to choose the ultimate candidate, who would represent all pan-green camps to run for Taipei Mayor. Non-DPP members who will be joining the integration process are Ko and fellow independent Neil Peng (馮光遠).

“Yao is insisting on holding so many debates because he wants to garner approval from audiences; he must feel confident that he will beat me ... I can't back out of the competition just because I feel intimidated,” said Ko.

Starting May 31, Ko and Yao will hold three press conferences each as a form of pre-primary campaigning; the two will be pitted against Kuomintang (KMT) candidate Sean Lien (連勝文) for another wave of public surveys on June 12.

Ko stated that he originally wished to debate against Yao once, but the latter insisted on holding three debate sessions. “I didn't want the integration to go to pieces, so I consented.”

When the media asked him if he was worried the debates would affect his approval ratings, Ko replied that he would not be shying away from the debates on any account, and that it would be best if he prepared well for them.

“This is like preparing for school entrance exams; you review what you've learned in class in the past ... I have canceled some of my scheduled events and will do my best in preparing,” said Ko.

The National Taiwan University Hospital physician also deemed it unnecessary to hold a press conference on one's political campaign overseas, the way Lien has planned recently. “We're not rich like he is, so there's nothing we can do,” Ko laughed. “One should think carefully about the questions one should ask before going overseas; but there is no need if the trip is only a visit ... for that, you can use emails.”

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