Mon, Oct 14, 2002 - Page 3 News List

For many of the nation's leaders, politics is a family affair

Many of the legislature's younger members -- and their siblings -- are carrying on a political tradition started by their parents, or even grandparents

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

Another case is Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩), a 31-year-old freshman legislator also from the DPP, who is daughter of former Taiwan Provincial Assembly deputy and democracy activist Chiu Mao-nan (邱茂男).

According to Chiu Yi-ying, her father had planned for her political bid since she was a little girl.

"I already knew when I was little that I would enter politics one day," Chiu said.

Chiu Yi-ying joined her father's campaign team in 1994, which paved the way for her first election campaign -- the 1996 National Assembly elections. In the end she was elected with the most votes in her Pingtung County constituency.

After becoming the youngest member of the DPP's Central Standing Committee in 1998, she enjoyed further success in December last year, winning a seat in the legislature.

There are other legislators who have entered politics by chance, thanks to the contacts and resources their parents established in the political scene.

The KMT's Wang Yu-ting (王昱婷) was only 25 when she was first elected a legislator in 1998. Wang, who is now in her second term, said she never intended to become a politician, having watched how her father sacrificed time with the family to perform his duty as a representative of the people.

But she was nominated as a legislative candidate by the KMT for a seat reserved for women in her constituency in Tainan City.

Another example is the DPP's Lin Tai-hua (林岱華), daughter of former mayor of Fengshan City Lin San-lang (林三郎).

She was notified 15 minutes before the registration deadline that she was to represent the DPP for a seat reserved for women in Kaohsiung County in last year's legislative elections. And she succeeded.

"My candidacy was totally accidental," Lin said.

While support and resources from the family can help legislators win seats, they frequently have to work hard to prove that they are up to the job.

Senior KMT Legislator Hwang Chao-shun (黃昭順), daughter of late Control Yuan President Hwang Tzuen-chiou (黃尊秋), seems to have overcome this problem in the 22 years since she first stepped onto the political scene as a deputy in the Kaohsiung City Council.

According to Hwang, having an influential father did not guarantee that she would survive the test of voters.

"People won't vote for a politician because he has an influential family background. He will still suffer defeat if his service wins little approval from the people," Hwang said.

Likewise, the DPP's Lan Mei-chin (藍美津), who was elected a legislator last year after serving four terms as a deputy to Taipei City Council, was better known as wife of former democracy activist Huang Tien-fu (黃天福), or sister-in-law of late DPP chairman Huang Hsin-chieh (黃信介), when her political career began in 1985.

Victory in re-election bids over the years and her successful advance into the legislature indicate that there is public approval for her that goes beyond her family background.

"With my credentials in the Taipei City Council and service for my constituents, I've pried open a road belonging to myself," Lan said.

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