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Politics

Taipei mayor emerges as contender for Taiwan presidency

Beijing seen wanting to split vote and return China-friendly Kuomintang to power

Taiwanese media have called Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, posing here at an event at Taiwan National University in late September, a top presidential contender.

TAIPEI -- Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, a surgeon-turned independent politician, is riding a wave of popularity as Taiwanese voters grow disillusioned with mainstream political parties.

With just a month or so left until islandwide local elections, which are widely seen as a warm-up for the 2020 presidential poll, Ko is gaining support from a growing number of independent voters even as the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which traditionally favors independence from China, and the more China-friendly Kuomintang, or the Nationalist Party, struggle.

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