Thu, Nov 24, 2011 - Page 8 News List

Ma puts his re-election in jeopardy

By Liu Shih-chung 劉世忠

The scandal relating to the the director-general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Kansas City, Jacqueline Liu (劉珊珊), who ran afoul of US labor laws, has also exposed the government’s poor management of its diplomats. Despite the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ negotiations with its US counterpart on the issue of diplomatic immunity, Liu’s admitting to violations of human rights involving two servants has no doubt damaged Taiwan’s international image.

Recent media disclosures alleging that Ma meet with a head of one of Taiwan’s biggest underground gambling circles could be the last straw for his re-election bid.

Having long portrayed himself as a “political Teflon” man and anti-corruption believer, Ma admitted that he met with bookies prior to the 2008 presidential election and the 2009 local elections. Despite Ma denying recently meeting with and accepting political contributions from bookie Chen Ying-chu (陳盈助), the fact that Ma, who has been criticizing former DPP president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and his family for inappropriately taking contributions from tycoons and therefore corruption, jeopardized his own image as a “clean” politician by meeting with gambling bosses.

While the electorate’s passion for Tsai has been energized by the “three piggy banks” movement, Ma’s campaign has been deeply troubled by his administration’s incompetence and self-destructive behavoir. Ma’s re-election is in jeopardy.

Liu Shih-chung is a senior research fellow at the Taipei-based Taiwan Brain Trust.

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