Taipei mayor to form new party for 2020 polls

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je says he will decide whether to run in the presidential race by early next month.
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je says he will decide whether to run in the presidential race by early next month.

TAIPEI • The mayor of Taipei has said yesterday that he will form a political party to run in Taiwan's 2020 election, a move that could complicate President Tsai Ing-wen's re-election bid and shake up the political landscape amid heightened tension with China.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je said that he will set up the Taiwanese People's Party early this month in a bid to run in the legislative election next January.

The self-ruled island is also set to hold its presidential election in January at a time of precarious relations with China, which considers it a wayward province and has never ruled out the use of force to bring it under Beijing's control.

Mr Ko, who advocates closer cross-strait ties and is known for his colourful comments about Taiwan politics, said he will decide whether to run in the highly competitive presidential race by early next month.

"It's not important whether I run (for the presidency) or not. What matters is the well-being of the people," he told reporters in Taipei.

Another person who could complicate Ms Tsai's bid for re-election is Foxconn founder Terry Gou.

Mr Gou lost the presidential nomination for the China-friendly opposition party Kuomintang (KMT) last month, but has not announced whether he will run as an independent next year.

A mayor from the island's south - Kaohsiung's Mr Han Kuo-yu - won the KMT's nomination for the presidential election, issuing a direct challenge to Ms Tsai.

The Taiwan President is facing criticism over her party's reform agenda amid rising diplomatic and military pressure from Beijing.

China's military is holding exercises this week in waters near Taiwan, days after Beijing reiterated it was ready to fight if there was any move towards independence for Taiwan.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 02, 2019, with the headline 'Taipei mayor to form new party for 2020 polls'. Print Edition | Subscribe