OPINION: How Would Ko Wen-je Disrupt Taiwan’s 2020 Presidential Election?

Roses are red, politics are black. 8

The News Lens
Date:\ 2019/08/06
By: Machi Lee

Both the Democratic Progress Party (DPP) and the Kuomintang (KMT) have announced their candidates for

Photo Credit: CNA

Taiwan’s presidential election, which will be held on January 11, 2020. Amid the presidential race, many suspect a third candidate may throw his hat in the ring. This would be Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-Je (柯文哲), a political independent.

In 2018, Ko won the mayoral re-election by only 3,567 votes, barely beating his KMT opponent, Ting Shou-chung (丁守中), by 0.25%. After his re-election, however, almost every polling company has treated Ko as a potential presidential candidate. Both the DPP and KMT treat him as an imaginary opponent in their respective primary polls, despite Ko never having officially announced his desire to run.

Why is a mayor, who almost lost his re-election and who has never declared a run for the presidency, widely considered to be a presidential hopeful? His popularity can be understood through examining Taiwan’s political traditions and the composition of his support base.

Since Taiwan had its first direct presidential election in 1996, it seems to be inevitable for every Taiwanese president to have “Taipei mayor” as part of their resume. Three former presidents Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), and Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), all served as the mayor of Taipei before later becoming president, until current incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) broke the 20-year streak in 2016 with her election victory.    [FULL  STORY]

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