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Yao pledges support for Ko in Taipei race

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) Taipei mayoral hopeful yesterday promised full support for a rival in the opposition camp who defeated him in public opinion polls.

DPP Legislator Yao Wen-chih said he will give “unconditional” support to the independent candidate Ko Wen-je, who came out first in a series of public surveys the opposition camp relied on to determine its candidate for the year-end Taipei mayoral race.

The consolidation of the opposition camp for the Taipei race will not see any U-turn, said Yao, who won the DPP's internal primary, but lost in the second round that included the independent.

He pointed out that he will observe the rules of a two-stage primary that he had proposed to unify support for the opposition camp.

Yao was dismissing speculation that he would continue fighting for nomination by the party.

But he also stressed that Ko will not be running under the DPP banner. He said the DPP Central Executive Committee will decide on June 18 whether the party will nominate its own candidate or throw support behind Ko.

The committee's job is not about “nominating” Ko, Yao emphasized.

Despite his close ties with the DPP, Ko, a famous doctor who has consistently garnered good popularity ratings in various surveys, has refused to become a party member.

The DPP announced that Ko was the winner in the second-round primary Friday without disclosing the specific ratings of the surveys, however, the press managed to obtain what are purported to be details of the surveys.

Yao said he did not know who leaked the survey details.

Ko is set to face Sean Lien from the ruling Kuomintang in the Taipei mayoral race.

Meanwhile Lien, who has promised substantial moves to facilitate urban renewal if elected mayor, visited an old neighborhood of the city.

During the visit, Lien discussed urban renewal issues with inhabitants in Xiwei Market in the downtown Daan district.

The ward chief of the area told Lien that there are 489 households and 145 vending stalls in the traditional market, which is crowded, chaotic and dirty. But it would be very difficult to implement a renewal project there because so many people would be involved, the ward chief said.

Lien said he knows the market very well as he grew up in the area.

He noted that traditional markets are not just places where people buy and sell, but also serve as a focal point of the local culture.

Lien said many old neighborhoods in Taipei need overhauls, but there must be feasible policies to address the needs of urban renewal, rather than fancy yet impractical promises.

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Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Yao Wen-chih gestures during a meeting with the press yesterday, a day after he lost to independent rival Ko Wen-je in the second-round ...

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