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Ko and Yao hold 1st mayoral election debate

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Pan-green Taipei mayoral aspirants Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and Yao Wen-chih (姚文智) yesterday held their first political debate, with Ko naming Kuomintang candidate Sean Lien as his main threat.

After winning the party primaries within the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Yao recently challenged Ko — formerly an independent pan-green hopeful — to a series of debates. The DPP will be holding a second-stage primary after the debates to integrate other pan-green individuals, including Ko and writer Neil Peng (馮光遠).

“To run for mayor is to take back the post and return the rights to the people. When I am mayor, everyone is the mayor. Or are we still passing down political positions from father to son?” Ko said. “When there is too much poverty and disadvantage in society, you won't feel secure even if you are living in The Palace (帝寶).” Ko's last remark was considered to be a dig at Lien, who lives in the luxury apartment complex in Taipei called The Palace.

Ko also expressed gratitude to the DPP for its open attitude when it comes to choosing the ultimate pan-green candidate. “I know that debates are not my strong point, but I will participate in all three debates for the integration,” said Ko.

Breaking the Blue-Green Dilemma

While Ko kept the most critical of his remarks trained on Lien, stressing the unity of the pan-green camp, Yao advised the audience against a seemingly common preference to vote for independent candidates when one doesn't wish to be tied down by blues and greens.

Ko had mentioned earlier that he would be a mayor without dividing the city into pan-blues and greens. “Taipei is sick (when it comes to political preferences); I am not politically biased when I care for people as a doctor, this also holds for my performance if I become mayor ... I am the fittest man to lead Taipei in improving itself, as I am passionate, straightforward and speak my mind. I have my flaws, but I strive to overcome them.”

Yao, however, refuted Ko's declaration. “If one wishes to break the blue-green dilemma in Taipei, it doesn't mean you have to vote for an individual candidate, like Doctor Ko just said.”

The lawmaker then listed his own goals for after he becomes mayor, including the relocation of the Taipei Songshan Airport, which he fully expects to be successful considering his efforts that aided the Kaohsiung government in building the Kaohsiung Metro; he also led the reclamation project of the Love River.

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Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) Taipei mayoral candidate Yao Wen-chih (姚文智), left, shakes hands with pan-green mayoral hopeful Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) at a candidate debate in Taipei, yesterday. (CNA)

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