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Foxconn founder Terry Gou picks actress as running mate in Taiwan

Tammy Lai, Netflix drama star, vows to 'have fun' in presidential race

Terry Gou, left, founder of contract electronics maker Foxconn, on Sept. 14 announced his choice of actress Tammy Lai as his running mate in Taiwan's presidential election.   © Terry Gou Presidential Campaign Office/Reuters

TAIPEI (Reuters) -- Terry Gou, the founder of major Apple supplier Foxconn on Thursday said his running mate in Taiwan's presidential election next year would be Tammy Lai, an actress who starred in a high-profile Netflix drama.

After months of speculation, the billionaire Gou announced his run as an independent candidate last month, though he has continued to run at the bottom of most opinion polls and well behind the favorite, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) William Lai, currently Taiwan's vice president.

At a news conference in Taipei, Gou introduced the veteran actress, author and singer Lai as his running mate. She played a presidential candidate in the hit Taiwanese Netflix show "Wave Makers" earlier this year. At the end of the show, she wins the election.

That series, about the members of an election campaign team, including a supportive manager who convinces a young staffer who was groped that the issue is too important to be swept under the rug, kicked off a renewed #MeToo movement in Taiwan.

"I'm quite open-minded. I told myself that last year I would set no ceiling for myself, and I didn't expect I'd actually be raised up this far," Lai told reporters.

"After meeting Chairman Gou two or three times, I was very sure he's someone I could cooperate with. Because he's fascinating," she added. "I told him, 'We're going to have fun.'"

Gou has been tying to unite the anti-DPP vote, but has so far not managed to reach agreement with either the main opposition party, the Kuomintang, nor the small Taiwan People's Party on how that might work.

The other parties have yet to announce running mates for their presidential candidates.

Gou must gather close to 300,000 voter signatures by Nov. 2 to qualify as an independent candidate, according election regulations, and needed to decide his running mate before he could collect signatures.

The Central Election Commission will review the signatures and announce the results by Nov. 14.

Gou stepped down as Foxconn chief in 2019 and this month resigned as a company board member.

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