Wed, Dec 21, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Pan-blue premier is the wrong way to go

By Chin Heng-wei (金恆煒)

On Sunday afternoon, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) announced that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) had invited Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to form a new Cabinet during their meeting the day before. Ma also said that the opposition camp was willing to negotiate with the president over the issue. Wang later said that during his meeting with the president he had actually recommended Ma for the premier's position.

However, the Presidential Office responded immediately to this, stating that the president had not invited Wang to form a Cabinet, and that he hoped to meet Ma in order to exchange opinions with him on national affairs.

Did or will Chen invite Wang to form a Cabinet? This question should be answered with regard to the 2000 transfer of power. With a Legislative Yuan formed by a minority ruling party and a majority opposition party, if Chen really allows the KMT to form a Cabinet, he will not only be giving up the Cabinet but also the entire administrative right, and the opposition will "take it all," as the president said before. By giving up power like this, the president would become nothing but a figurehead. Therefore, his invitation to Wang is certainly not "party-to-party." Plus, since the three-in-one elections, the pan-blue camp only enjoys a slim legislative majority. If the speaker is willing to help, the current situation of a minority ruling camp is likely to be reversed, and Taiwan's political situation is likely to move forward in a positive way.

The big question is, would Wang dare to leave the KMT in order to fight for Taiwan and himself? He has very little space within the party after his defeat by Ma in the chairmanship election. Today, Ma has no rivals as leader of the pan-blue camp, and appears to be their only candidate for the 2008 presidential election. At present, its seems unlikely that Wang would even be nominated as Ma's running mate. If he accepted Chen's invitation, he would be creating a new path for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as well as a new political career for himself. Unfortunately, it looks like he is still following Ma's lead and is unable to take bold action. With this in mind, Wang seems unlikely to accept the challenge, and so even if his political career does not come to an end, he is now firmly under Ma's control.

Wang's recommendation to make Ma premier was in itself absolutely absurd. If Chen invited Ma, the KMT chairman, to form a Cabinet, Ma's party would suddenly become the ruling party and Chen would be president in name only. Is that reasonable? In that case, why would Wang say so? Was he demonstrating his sincerity to Ma? Or was he "throwing a stone to clear the path," as the Chinese saying goes? The former seems to be more likely.

As for Ma, he quickly announced the news of Chen's invitation to Wang, to highlight Wang's frankness. He also met Wang the next morning to demonstrate that it is impossible for him to leave the KMT. Meanwhile, the Presidential Office issued a news release denying Wang's claim about the invitation. Even if Wang's claim was true, the possibility does not exist anymore. Wang doesn't dare to act on his own, and the proposed "party-to-party" negotiations are unlikely to occur. Even a Chen-Ma meeting is not very probable, quite apart from the fact that such a meeting is unlikely to produce much of significance.

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