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ELECTION 2024/TPP's Ko calls 2024 election a choice between 'new politics,' 'old forces'

01/07/2024 10:29 PM
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Taiwan People's Party presidential nominee Ko Wen-je (center) and his running mate Wu Hsin-ying (left) attend a campaign rally in Kaohsiung Sunday.
Taiwan People's Party presidential nominee Ko Wen-je (center) and his running mate Wu Hsin-ying (left) attend a campaign rally in Kaohsiung Sunday.

Taipei, Jan. 7 (CNA) Taiwan People's Party (TPP) presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) on Sunday called the 2024 presidential election a showdown between "new politics" and "old forces," while urging voters to elect a president "who can solve problems."

Attending a campaign rally at Kaohsiung's Aozidi Forest Park, Ko urged voters to end the decades of political wrangling and confrontation between the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) and embrace "new politics and a new culture."

"How will history remember the 2024 Taiwan presidential election?

"It will be a showdown between new politics and old forces, a battle between ruling by rationality, pragmatism and science and ruling by ideology, as well as a face-off between the power of civic movements versus that of traditional factions," Ko said at the rally, which organizers said attracted over 60,000 supporters.

During his speech, the former Taipei mayor criticized the central government's fiscal distribution, which he said has long been biased toward the north and neglected southern cities and counties such as Kaohsiung.

He also slammed DPP presidential candidate and incumbent Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) and the government, saying that under DPP rule, Taiwanese businesses continue to face a shortage of labor, land and talent, while the nation has also faced shortages of necessities including vaccines, rapid tests, eggs and even toilet paper.

Ko also mentioned Kaohsiung's air pollution problem, noting that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Taiwan, and touted his own record of tackling air pollution in Taipei.

"Taking things seriously is a kind of culture," Ko said. "Do we need someone to point out problems? We need a president who can solve problems."

Ko said the only thing he asks of the government is that it is not corrupt, does not rule by ideology, takes things seriously, and works hard.

"That's all we need," he said at the rally, held on the last weekend of the election campaign.

Ko's supporters, many of whom held placards that read "Taiwan's choice, Ko Wen-je," began gathering at the location in the afternoon, packing the venue before the event began around 6 p.m.

In addition to Ko, presidential candidates Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) of the KMT and Lai Ching-te of the DPP also held campaign rallies in Kaohsiung Sunday, less than a week out from Taiwan's Jan. 13 presidential and legislative elections.

A traditional DPP stronghold, in 2020 the ruling DPP took 62.23 percent of the total votes for president cast in the southern port city, followed by the KMT with 34.63 percent and the People's First Party with 3.14 percent.

(By Christie Chen and Matthew Mazzetta)

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