The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) yesterday announced its legislator-at-large nominees for the Jan. 11 elections, with Taipei Department of Labor Commissioner Lai Hsiang-lin (賴香伶) topping the 29-person list.
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), the TPP chairman, said that the average age of the nominees is 41.4 years, which is 25 years younger than that of another party, and that he is proud that many nominees were selected via an open audition.
It was not clear which political party Ko was referring to.
“We are recruiting talented people from the public. We do not care if the applying individual is rich or not, and we do not need them to donate NT$80 million [US$2.62 million] to guarantee them a ‘safe’ seat on the list,” he said, adding that the party recruited people based only on their talent and would pay the NT$200,000 registration fee for them.
The public’s wisdom can surpass an individual’s wisdom, so it conducted an open audition to choose at-large nominees for the first time in the nation’s political history, the TPP said.
“We hold the ideal of ‘open government, public participation, openness and transparency,’ and we are unfolding a ‘silent revolution’ stressing the importance of ‘national governance,’” it said.
Other female nominees include Hon Hai Technology Group Industrial Big Data Office vice president Ann Kao (高虹安) at No. 3, Ko’s close aide and Taipei City Government adviser Tsai Pi-ju (蔡壁如) at No. 5, Shin Kong Life Insurance Co deputy chief executive Cynthia Wu (吳欣盈) at No. 7, and Taipei City Government deputy spokeswoman Huang Ching-ying, who gained popularity among young people online, at No. 13.
TPP Secretary-General Chang Jer-yang (張哲揚) said 17 nominees were selected through an open audition, and 15 people on the list are under 40.
National Sun Yat-sen University College of Social Science dean Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿), who was selected through an open audition, is No. 2.
When asked why the party nominated only 29 people, despite Ko repeatedly saying that it would nominate a full list of 34 candidates, Chang said there were other nominees, but his aides suggested dropping five of them to save NT$1 million in registration fees.
He was also asked about a rumor that some TPP members were unsatisfied with placing Kao, who is considered Hon Hai Precision Industry founder Terry Gou’s (郭台銘) aide, in a safe seat, as Gou’s aides were rumored to be also in safe seats on the People First Party’s (PFP) nominee list.
Ko said the PFP has not announced its list yet, and Gou had asked whether he wanted to switch the places of Kao with Tsai on the TPP’s list, but he thinks Kao has professional skills in big data and technology, and that having more professionals than politicians would be more beneficial for Taiwan.
Asked about PFP Chairman James Soong’s (宋楚瑜) remark yesterday that he had wanted to cooperate with Ko in the presidential election before Ko founded his own party, Ko confirmed that Soong had talked to him about the idea, but he only “listened and laughed,” because Soong did not give him a detailed proposal.