In a bid to cement their role as leading contenders for the 2008 presidential elections, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (
Although Ma seems to have secured his grip to be the KMT's nominee for the 2008 poll by winning a landslide victory over Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (
"Ma will have a hard time reconciling with most of the party members and tackling the tough work of integrating the pan-blues, including the People First Party [PFP], said Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), a political analyst at Academia Sinica.
Other analysts predicted that Ma may end up with a Pyrrhic victory if he doesn't straighten out his difficulties with Wang.
"Ma will have big troubles if he can't appease Wang," said Chien Yu-yen (簡余晏), a political reporter and TV commentator.
"Ma has to be aware of the fact that Wang is capable of making him a mere figurehead in the KMT given Wang's experience and familiarity with party affairs," Chien said.
Hsu said Ma will have to fight hand-to-hand with the DPP, including President Chen Shui-bian (
There is no doubt that Ma and Su are the two main hopefuls for the 2008 election at this moment. Their first head-to-head fight will be the December elections for county commissioners and mayors in which they will be campaign for their party's nominees.
The election result will have a direct impact on their positions in their parties and will determine whether they will be considered qualified to represent the parties in 2008.
If Ma can calm the internal unrest in the KMT and get other key members to help him win the year-end elections, then his status as a "common leader" in the pan-blue camp will be certain and his winning the nomination for 2008 a given, analysts said.
SU'S LEARNING CURVE
The same is true for Su. While Su may be his party's chief, he does not have many government resources -- at least not as many as his main rival within the DPP, Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷).
Su has said that he took the DPP chairmanship to "prepare himself" for 2008. In fact, each local election is crucial to Su in terms of building up his power and cachet, as well as increasing his chance of capturing the 2008 nomination. The year-end elections are the only stage that Su has at this point, analysts said.
If Su messes up the year-end elections, then he will have to say goodbye to the Presidential Office for good," Chien said.
"The New Tide Faction (
Coincidentally, both Ma and Su both have to compete with strong opponents in governmental posts for the 2008 nominations.