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Taiwan election: Foxconn founder Terry Gou taps star-powered running mate to boost sluggish presidential bid

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Taiwanese billionaire Terry Gou has picked a veteran entertainer as his running mate in the January presidential election, as the founder of Apple supplier Foxconn flounders in public opinion polls.

Tammy Lai, a 60-year-old singer, author and actress who starred as a presidential candidate in a popular Netflix drama, will join Gou as he pursues the independent ticket in a four-way contest in which he trails all his opponents.

Calling her a multifaceted person who had enjoyed success as a performer as well as her new career as a popular life coach, Gou, who announced his bid to run as an independent last month, said in a news conference on Thursday that Lai was his clear choice in the race.

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“I will rely on her female perspective to create a more equitable and balanced gender culture in Taiwan,” Gou said of Lai, who has a PhD in law from Jinan University in the Chinese mainland city of Guangzhou, and is a graduate of Harvard Kennedy School’s executive leadership programme.

“I will also leverage her expertise … to foster a peaceful and compassionate society in Taiwan,” Gou said, adding he could also lend Lai’s communication skills to build a consensus on the politically divided self-ruled island.

He said if elected, their team-up would “bring a fresh and new perspective to Taiwan.”

04:06

Foxconn billionaire Terry Gou announces Taiwan presidential run as independent candidate

Foxconn billionaire Terry Gou announces Taiwan presidential run as independent candidate

Lai said she accepted Gou’s invitation because of the continuous capital outflows from Taiwan caused by economic instability, and the failure of the current government to help young people improve their quality of life.

“After meeting Chairman Gou two or three times, I was very sure he was someone I could work with,” Lai said, adding the tycoon was experienced in business and finance and would be able to help stabilise the economy and improve livelihoods.

Lai, who has dual nationality and would have to abandon her American citizenship to register to run as an independent vice presidential candidate, rose to fame in the recent Taiwanese Netflix hit “Wave Makers”, in which she played a Taiwanese presidential candidate who eventually wins.

03:15

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Taiwan holds nuclear emergency drill as mainland Chinese planes enter island’s air defence zone

That series follows an election campaign team that includes an office manager who convinces a young female staffer to report on a fellow team member who sexually harassed her.

The scene has been credited with helping to fuel the #MeToo movement in Taiwan, sparking a wave of allegations earlier this year that dealt a serious blow to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), after several former workers made public their previous ordeals that they said were covered up by party executives.

Public support for Vice-President William Lai Ching-te, the DPP chairman and presidential front-runner, was also impacted, prompting him to bring in gender equality training for party members. The opposition Kuomintang (KMT) has been hit by similar allegations.

03:04

On US stopover, Taiwanese Vice-President William Lai vows to lead Taiwan with peace

On US stopover, Taiwanese Vice-President William Lai vows to lead Taiwan with peace

The movement later extended to other social sectors, implicating academics, television pundits, exiled mainland Chinese dissidents, former diplomats, judicial officials and celebrities.

The DPP said Gou’s announcement of his running mate could help him attract desperately needed support.

“Gou made a good choice,” DPP legislator Hsu Chih-chieh said, adding that Lai is a well-known figure with no political baggage.

However, Wang Kung-yi, head of the Taiwan International Strategic Study Society, a Taipei think tank, said that despite her popularity, it would be hard for Lai “to win points” for Gou, given that she does not actually have any political experience.

“A running mate must be able to supplement the shortcomings of a presidential candidate. What Gou needs is an expert who is well versed in foreign, interior and defence affairs or is a capable government administrator, rather than a spiritual mentor,” he said.

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Gou remains mired at the bottom of public opinion polls with around 13 per cent support, far behind William Lai who stands at 40 per cent. Taiwan People’s Party chairman Ko Wen-je’s has 23 per cent support, followed by New Taipei Mayor and KMT candidate Hou Yu-ih at 22 per cent.

Gou still needs to collect signatures from at least 290,000 people before November 2 to be endorsed as an independent candidate, according to election rules.

Article was originally published from here

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