Taipei, Aug. 27 (CNA) An aide to tycoon Terry Gou (郭台銘) would not confirm a report saying Gou will announce his bid for the presidency in September but did say on Tuesday he is seriously considering the possibility.
Gou, the founder and former chairman of iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry, has been mulling an independent run for president since losing the Kuomintang (KMT) presidential primary in mid-July to Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜).
Speculation surrounding his candidacy has picked up recently as Gou has tried to ally himself with independent Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and former Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to launch a third force in the 2020 race against Taiwan's two major parties, the KMT and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Gou aide Tsai Chin-yu (蔡沁瑜) confirmed Tuesday Gou is seriously considering a run for president and said he will announce his decision before Sept. 17, the deadline for registration as a presidential candidate.
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (center)
Tsai was responding to a Mirror Media report Tuesday confirming the Gou, Ko and Wang have indeed teamed up for the 2020 presidential election, citing Gou Shou-cheng (郭守正), Gou's eldest son, and other sources.
Recent polls indicate Gou would be competitive as a candidate, though he would be strongest if Ko agreed to be his running mate, something Ko has said he will not do.
Results of an Apple Daily poll released Tuesday showed a Gou-Ko ticket winning 35 percent support, compared to 24.2 percent for Han and 24 percent for President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the DPP, who is running for re-election.
When the same poll compared Gou on his own to Tsai and Han, Tsai came out on top with 29 percent support, followed by Gou's 27.2 percent and Han's 25.6 percent.
A TVBS poll that also pitted Gou on his own against Tsai and Han had Tsai ahead with 33 percent support to Han's 31 percent and Gou's 29 percent.
In that poll, conducted Aug. 15 and 16, Tsai was strongest among voters in the 20-29 and 60-plus age brackets, while Han won the 40-49 and 50-59 age brackets and Gou led the other two candidates among voters 30 to 39.
former Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng
The poll indicated that Gou would not gain anything by adding Wang as his running mate. Under such a scenario, the Gou-Wang ticket would finish third at 28 percent, behind Tsai's 34 percent and Han's 33 percent.
The TVBS poll was conducted Aug. 15-16 and collected 839 valid responses. It had a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.
Ko, meanwhile, was thought by many earlier in the year to be a likely candidate in the presidential election being held on Jan. 11, 2020, and was even included in the opinion polls used in the DPP and KMT presidential primaries.
More recently, however, he has been ambiguous about his ambitions. On Aug. 6, Ko formed the Taiwan People's Party (TPP) and pledged to support Gou for president in 2020, but 10 days later Ko said he would consider running himself if Gou did not enter the race.
In an interview with the United Daily News on Monday, however, the Taipei mayor said Han was wrong to assume that he (Ko) would definitely run for president.
Wang, meanwhile, has been clear about his plans to run for president since he pulled out of the KMT's presidential primary process in June, but he did not say if he will run as an independent.
When he was asked about a strategic alliance with Ko and Gou on Sunday, Wang said he had no such plans.