Taiwan’s Kuomintang picks New Taipei City mayor as presidential candidate

Taiwan's Kuomintang picks New Taipei City mayor as presidential candidate

Hou will run against the DPP’s William Lai, Taiwan’s vice president, who was leading the KMT pick by about five to 10 percentage points, according to three Taiwan polls released this week.

Formerly the head of the National Police Agency, 65-year-old Hou was thrust into the limelight after a landslide re-election win in New Taipei city late last year in a local election in which the KMT trounced the DPP.

Gou, who stepped down as Foxconn’s chief in 2019, congratulated Hou on Wednesday for winning the nomination and called him the “best candidate” for the party.

“I will keep my promise to do my best to support Mayor Hou’s election campaign in order to win the 2024 election and to remove the incompetent government,” Gou said in a Facebook post.

The KMT denies being pro-Beijing, although it supports maintaining good relations with China as well as the proposal that both are part of a single China though each can have its own interpretation of the term.

Despite its differences with China, the DPP has repeatedly offered talks with Beijing that have been rebuffed.

While the KMT has framed the 2024 vote as a choice between war and peace, DPP’s Lai has urged voters to choose democracy over authoritarianism.

The Taiwan People’s Party, the island’s third-largest party, announced on Wednesday that former Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je would be its presidential candidate.

The KMT’s poll data showed Hou trailing Lai by 4.97 percentage points, and beating Ko by 0.16 points.