Wed, Feb 13, 2002 - Page 8 News List

DPP needs its own Wang Jin-pyng

By Wang Chien-chuang 王健壯

When Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) was first elected a legislator more than 20 years ago, he was certainly no stunning talent. New legislators who at the time received more attention than Wang included the KMT "Three Musketeers" -- Hsieh Shen-shan (謝深山) representing labor organizations, Tsai You-tu (蔡友土) representing farmers' organizations and Huang Tse-ching (黃澤青) representing fishermen's organizations -- as well as Hsiao Teng-tzang (蕭天讚) from Chiayi who later became Minister of Justice, and the independent Kang Ning-hsiang (康寧祥).

At the time, these five prestigious members were well-known and received a lot of media coverage. More senior legislators admired them and maintained good relations with them. Chiang Ching-kuo's (蔣經國) Cabinet also showed them much respect. Even more important, they were ambitious and made great efforts to learn how to be good legislators.

Even though the "Three Musketeers" had not attained a high level of education, their political work was solid and they always had something substantial to say during interpellations.

After Kang was elected to the legislature, he was generally recognized as a most conscientious student. If he wasn't in the library immersed in books he was in the research room studying and searching for information. During the annual budget review, his copy of the budget was always full of scribbled notes. Even many of the old legislators holding political views different from Kang's admired the diligence and depth of his work.

Tsai's and Huang's political careers, however, were cut short after the system whereby legislators represented different professions was abolished. Hsiao, even though he was the first new legislator to become a member of the Cabinet, had to step down due to suspicions of involvement in a lobbying scandal. For the past few years, Hsiao has served as chairman of the Central News Agency. Hsieh served as Council of Labor Affairs chairman for a while, but after having been defeated in an election for Taipei County commissioner, he returned home to Hualien, dejected. Kang, who saw his star-status wane after being labelled part of the non-mainstream party faction, has had to watch the generation following the independents surpass him. Despite having done a good job in the Control Yuan, his appointment to the post of vice defense minister is still a step backward.

During the generational change in the legislature a few years back, Hsieh was seen as a prospective successor as legislative speaker. But because of Hsieh's education, Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) having other plans and Liu Song-pan (劉松藩) and Wang's unequalled contact network, Hsieh was unable to step into the job -- even though he met thw requirements. Instead Liu and Wang successively became speakers of the Legislative Yuan.

While Kang and the "Three Musketeers" became stars thanks to their political work, Wang was busy with his own business and had no success worth mentioning on the legislative floor. When he, Tsai Chen-chou (蔡辰洲) and others formed the "Club of 13" it was obvious that his mind was elsewhere. But Wang is not a principled and opinionated politician. He has a soft personality and almost no political enemies. He has relied on social connections rather than professionalism. Handling his connections consistently over 20 years and eventually obtaining the unanimous support of each faction of each party, it is by pure skill that he has reached the position he holds today.

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