Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) fell in the polls this week. Coverage of China-born Xu Chunying (徐春鶯), a potential legislative candidate for the TPP, was named as a factor. Taiwan’s pan-green media alleges Xu is either a former Chinese Communist Party cadre or could be forced to act on behalf of Beijing because of her status as a Chinese citizen. Ko also did not do himself any favours with his behaviour at a university event in Kaohsiung, where he talked down to a student. Expect Ko to rebound next week thanks to his first official ad campaign. The TPP says its internal polling shows Ko winning the election, but it won’t release the numbers.
Ko is rumoured to be considering as his running mate either former Taipei deputy mayor Huang Shan-shan (黃珊珊) or billionaire independent candidate Terry Gou (郭台銘). Gou has in the past expressed willingness to team up with a pan-blue candidate. Huang is considered the more likely choice, and choosing a female vice presidential candidate might help a candidate with a history of making sexist remarks.
Last week we learned that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Lai Ching-te (賴清德) was considering Taiwan’s U.S. representative, Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), as his running mate. Lai seems to have shaken off the latest DPP scandals (two politicians and a staffer allegedly involved in extramarital affairs) as his numbers are up this week. Showing up more frequently at public events and appearing on podcasts and YouTube shows has probably helped. This may also indicate that Lai feels he is actually running in a race rather than taking a victory lap.
Support for Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) rose slightly this week, with credit given for his being patient with Ko in talks to form a blue-white coalition. Those talks are on the verge of breaking up.
Terry Gou remains in last place, his campaign accused of paying for some of the 1.03 million signatures he obtained to get on the ballot for the January 2024 presidential election. Prosecutors have opened cases against at least 20 people in connection with the allegations.