Mon, Jul 26, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Analysts question Ma's reshuffling

CITY GOVERNMENT Most people understand that Ma Ying-jeou is jockeying toward a 2008 run for president. It's just that he might be bungling his preparations

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou holds a dog yesterday as the city's Department of Environmental Protection kicked off a campaign encouraging people to keep their dogs on a leash and to clean up their pets' droppings.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

Perhaps no one would dispute that Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) imminent reshuffling of the Taipei City Government is designed to provide him an edge in his quest for the presidency in 2008. However, how much good Ma's new crew can do him is an open question in the minds of many analysts and voters.

Having been involved in the personnel reshuffle for two months, Ma will announce the new members of the city government to the public next Monday. About 10 new bureau directors will enter the city government. Nearly one-third of the city's bureau workers have to welcome new bosses, which is the largest-scale reorganization that the city government has had since Ma won his mayoral re-election in 2002.

As a vice chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), Ma is viewed as the pan-blue politician most capable of engineering a comeback for the pan-blue camp in the aftermath of KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) losing in the presidential election on March 20. As such, Ma's every political move is being put under the microscope.

According to Ma's plan, many outgoing bureau directors will campaign for the legislative elections in December and the election for county commissioners next year as Ma's advance troops of the 2008 presidential election. This could create a wide network of local connections for Ma.

However, people in both the pan-green and pan-blue camps criticized Ma's strategy, saying Ma has not shown any new ideas in this reshuffling, but just trotted out the same old tired warhorses.

Many veterans of the city government and the pan-blue camp appear among Ma's new appointees. Former City Government spokesman King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) and former director of the Bureau of Health Yeh Chin-chuan (葉金川) will replace Pai Hsiou-hsiung (白秀雄) and Ou Chin-der (歐晉德) as deputy mayors.

Former pan-blue alliance campaign spokesman Jack Yu (游梓翔) is set to become the city government spokesman, as his predecessor Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) will run for a legislative seat in December. Ho Hung-jung (何鴻榮), director of the KMT's Cultural and Communications Affairs Department, will take over the position of Samuel Wu (吳秀光), director of the Bureau of Civil Affairs, who plans to campaign for Hualien County commissioner.

Among the new crew, King is the most unwelcome member from the viewpoint of the Taipei City Council. As an influential adviser to Ma, King has had fierce quarrels with city councilors during interpellation sessions while serving as city government spokesman. He was dubbed the "arrogant rooster" by several city councilors.

As soon as learning that King would return to the city government to serve as deputy mayor, Taipei City Council Speaker Wu Bi-chu (吳碧珠) voiced her strong opposition to this arrangement.

"I think Mayor Ma should ponder why his personal polling is always higher than that of his team," Wu Bi-chu said.

"If Ma allows people who did not perform well or had a bad relationship with the city council to go back to the city government, it will only hurt Ma's reputation," she said.

Chou Po-ya (周柏雅), Democratic Progressive (DPP)Party's caucus leader in the City Council, also said that he was disappointed with the arrangement, saying it showed that Ma is indecisive.

Meanwhile, the most surprising new recruit on Ma's team is Independent Legislator Su Ying-kuei (蘇盈貴), who will serve as the vice convener of the city's Human Rights Commission, a new organization founded by Ma one week ago.

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