Taiwan mayor launches new political party

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 7 Aug 2019

A popular Taiwanese mayor launched a new party yesterday that could chip away at the two main political camps that have long dominated the island's politics as it heads towards crucial elections in January.

Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je, 60, said he wanted to change Taiwan's political culture and offer people another choice beside the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and the main opposition Kuomintang.

Former trauma surgeon Ko won the Taipei mayoralty as an independent and built a reputation for being something of a maverick with an especially effective social media presence.

The island will vote for a new president and parliament in elections in January set to be dominated by relations with China.

Relations between Beijing and Taipei have plummeted since President Tsai Ing-wen came to power in 2016. Ko has adopted the slogan "the two sides are one family," sparking criticism from the Beijing-skeptical DPP.

Speculation is rife that Ko could run as a presidential candidate himself, or team up with Foxconn founder Terry Gou.

A poll conducted by Apple Daily newspaper showed that Ko and Gou would be clear favorites if they teamed up. Ko said he hopes to build a "clean and diligent" government to regain people's trust with his Taiwan People's Party.

 

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