Terry Gou, the founder and president of Foxconn, gets into politics. The richest man in Taiwan – his fortune is estimated at 7.6 billion dollars (6.7 billion euros) – announced on Wednesday April 17 that he wanted to be a candidate in the presidential election which will take place on January 11, 2020 Terry Gou would like to run under the colors of the Kouomintang (KMT), one of the two main parties on this island, de facto independent but whose sovereignty Beijing does not recognize.
68-year-old Terry Gou has not indicated whether he intends to remain as president of his company, the world leader in electronic subcontracting – which employs more than a million people worldwide, particularly in China. He nevertheless indicated that he wanted to take a step back from the day-to-day management of this company, known in particular for being the main manufacturer of Apple.
To justify his candidacy, Mr. Gou says he dreamed that the goddess of the sea encouraged him to come forward “to support peace between the two sides of the strait and do good things and bring hope to young people.”
An application that arouses “enthusiasm”
By insisting on peace in the strait, Gou – whose activities are mostly in mainland China – insists on the good relations he intends to have with Beijing. This will be the essential stake of this election. From Thursday, the Chinese daily Global Times seemed to welcome this candidacy, noting that it elicits “Enthusiasm in the island”.
But before being a presidential candidate, Terry Gou, whose parents fled mainland China to escape communism, must first be nominated by the KMT, which is far from being a formality. Two candidates have already declared themselves: Eric Chu, the former president of the KMT and unsuccessful candidate in 2016, and Wang Jin-pyng, former speaker of Parliament.
Above all, an outsider plays the spoilsport: Han Kuo-yun, the mayor of Kaohsiung, often described as populist but very popular in the polls. This has not yet been declared, but he is currently in the United States, a mandatory stopover for any presidential candidate, and recently made a very noticed – and very contested – trip to Hong Kong, where he was shown favorable to a rapprochement with mainland China.
Opinion polls as a primary
While Chinese President Xi Jinping wishes to apply the so-called “one country, two systems” principle currently in force in Hong Kong to Taiwan, this theme should be at the heart of the next election campaign. It pits the KMT against the current ruling party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). He will organize primaries between his two candidates, the current president, Tsai Ing-wen, and one of his former prime ministers, Lai Ching-te.
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