TPP official sees potential for collaboration with KMT in 2022

Hsieh Li-kung (center) campaigns when he represented the KMT to run for Keelung mayor in 2018. / CNA photo Nov. 23, 2018

TAIPEI (CNA) — An official of the Taiwan People’s Party said on Wednesday he foresees the possibility of the nation’s two major opposition parties cooperating in future elections, citing the principle of checks and balances in a democratic nation.

“There is ample room for the Kuomintang (KMT) and TPP to cooperate in future elections, in particular the 2022 local government elections,” said TPP Secretary-General Hsieh Li-kung (謝立功), in a radio interview.

Asked whether Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), who established the TPP in August 2019, supports this idea, he stressed that it was just his personal viewpoint and not official party policy.

Hsieh, a former National Immigration Agency director-general and a member of the KMT for 40 years, announced on May 31 that he was quitting the party to serve as TPP secretary-general at the invitation of Ko.

Explaining why he decided to leave the KMT, Hsieh said Taiwan needs a strong opposition to check and balance the ruling party, so that it will be more humble and devise policies that better meet the people’s needs.

He acknowledged that the 101-year-old KMT faces problems and said he chose to switch to the TPP because it has less baggage holding it back.

Hsieh also brushed off speculation that he would seek the backing of the TPP to run for Keelung mayor a third time.

“My top priority now is to cultivate and recruit talent for the TPP to counter the ruling party in future elections,” he said.

“The opposition must be united and cooperating with the KMT is just one of the options,” he said.

Hsieh, representing the KMT, lost to Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, in Keelung mayoral elections in 2014 and 2018.