(Bloomberg) -- Aides to Foxconn founder Terry Gou visited Taiwan’s top election agency about the paperwork needed to wage an independent campaign for president, in the latest sign the billionaire is inching toward a run.
Gou spokeswoman Evelyn Tsai told reporters during a visit Tuesday to the Central Election Commission in Taipei that she was inquiring about petition procedures. While she said Gou has yet to make up his mind, independent candidates must apply for petitions by Sept. 17 for a chance to compete in the January election.
“The campaign office is doing preparation, with final decision to be made by Gou,” Tsai said. She was accompanied by a top political consultant to Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, who was expected to back any Gou run.
Speculation that Gou might mount an independent bid to unseat incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen has swirled since he lost a primary to run the opposition Kuomintang line to Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu. A three-way race would inject new uncertainty into what was shaping up to be a showdown between contrasting visions of ties with China.
The polls show that a three-way election could be tight. The latest weekly tracking survey released Tuesday by the Apple Daily newspaper showed Tsai leading with 33.7%, compared with 28.9% for Han and 25.6% for Gou.
Gou, who in June quit as chairman of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Foxconn’s main listed arm, built the company from a maker of television knobs into a global powerhouse that is now Apple’s biggest supplier and China’s largest private employer. Gou also has ties to President Donald Trump, meeting the U.S. leader at the White House in May.
--With assistance from Adela Lin and Debby Wu.
To contact the reporters on this story: Miaojung Lin in Taipei at firstname.lastname@example.org;Samson Ellis in Taipei at email@example.com
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org, Edwin Chan
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