Taipei, Nov. 7 (CNA) Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) presidential nominee Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said Tuesday that the “only” hurdle to a prospective joint ticket with rival Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) of the Kuomintang (KMT) was deciding who has top billing.
Speaking to the press in Taipei on Tuesday, Ko, a former mayor of Taipei, said he was “optimistic” about hashing out an electoral pact with the KMT — despite the continued impasse between the two parties over candidate selection.
Ko has previously said he will “insist” on deciding the order of any prospective ticket by public poll without giving equal weighting to a cross-party vote among legislative candidates as favored by the KMT.
While the KMT has not rejected Ko’s proposal outright, it was described by the main opposition party’s Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) as “statistically meaningless.”
The KMT and the TPP are working to hash out an electoral pact for the Jan. 13 presidential election to challenge Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德), the Democratic Progressive Party’s presidential nominee, who polls predict will win a plurality in any three-way race.
With no apparent resolution in sight following weeks of Groundhog Day-esque speculation, Ko remained vague when asked about the cross-party courtship Tuesday, stating only that any joint ticket would have to have “the highest likelihood of winning.”
Striking a similarly noncommittal tone, Hou said that the most significant consensus between the KMT and the TPP was to assemble the strongest joint ticket.
Asked about KMT rank-and-file discontent as well as rumors that the KMT’s losing 2020 presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) will be enlisted as his running mate, Hou said only that he and Han will work closely together.
Meanwhile, on Monday, KMT legislative caucus leader Tseng Ming-chung (曾銘宗) said that while the party was committed to an alliance with the TPP, it would “prepare for the worst.”
Candidates for Taiwan’s 2024 presidential election must formally register their candidacies between Nov. 20 and 24, and are forbidden from campaigning for other candidates once officially on the ballot.
(By Yeh Chen, Wang Chen-chung, Kuo Chien-shen and Chung Yu-chen)