Fri, Jan 15, 2010 - Page 8 News List

The storm hasn’t even started yet

By Chen Chao-chien 陳朝建

The fourth implication is the impact on the standing of party leaders. DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has further consolidated her authority within the party, and her political relationship with another DPP heavyweight, former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), is clearly improving. By contrast, rumblings over Ma’s performance are becoming audible within his party, and he may well be obliged to make further changes to the party and his Cabinet.

Particularly prickly issues for him are the US beef saga, A(H1N1) vaccinations and the signing of an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with Beijing.

We might also look at the respective party secretaries-­generals, both of whom are quite new to the position. The recent events cannot but put DPP Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) in a favorable light, while KMT counterpart King Pu-tsung’s (金溥聰) press relations skills are going to be severely tested if he is going to staunch the bleeding from Ma’s battered reputation. King’s personal standing within the KMT is also at risk of going down with the sinking ship if he continues in his position as secretary-general.

Finally, we turn to the five special municipality elections. The DPP is on a roll at the moment and seems to have already left behind the corruption scandal surrounding former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). If the party can come up with a “dream team” of candidates for those elections — and there is speculation that Su and Tsai have been chalked in for Taipei City and Sinbei City — then the party is going to enter the fray well prepared. If a US beef import referendum is held at the same time as the special municipality elections, the KMT is going to have even more of an uphill battle. That is, of course, unless it has a dream team of its own. I would even say that this particular storm is going to hit way before the end of the year if the KMT receives another battering in the four legislative by-elections late next month.

Chen Chao-chien is an assistant professor of public affairs at Ming Chuan University.

TRANSLATED BY PAUL COOPER

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