Fri, Dec 09, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Lu setting sights on the presidency: analysts

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), who has several times declined to take over as the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) chairperson -- and yet embraced the chance to fill the post temporarily on Wednesday -- is starting to pave the way for her candidacy in the 2008 presidential election, political commentators said yesterday.

In fact, it was not just Lu herself who was "surprised" at her acceptance of the position after DPP chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) stepped down in the wake of the party's election failure. DPP officials and lawmakers were also stunned.

Although local newspapers had speculated on several possible candidates for to serve as the party's acting chairperson -- such as DPP caucus whip Jao Yung-ching (趙永清), DPP Legislator Trong Chai (蔡同榮) and even Lu -- the announcement that Lu would take the position still gave the party a jolt.

"People were shocked because Vice President Lu sitting in that position somehow seems to go against the rules of the game within the DPP," Shih Cheng-feng (施正鋒), a professor at Tamkang University's Department of Public Administration, said yesterday.

Shih said that in the DPP, crucial decisions or nominations are often produced after keen contention and political wrestling among the party's factions. Therefore, Lu, who does not participate in any factions, was an unexpected choice for acting chairperson.

The four major factions in the DPP are the New Tide (新潮流) faction, the Justice Alliance (正義連線), the Welfare State Alliance (福利國連線) and the Green Alliance (綠色連線).

The DPP will hold an election for chairperson before the end of January and Lu is also qualified to register as a candidate, according to the party's regulations.

Although the acting chairperson will not necessarily become the next DPP chief, Chin Heng-wei (金恆煒), political commentator and editor-in-chief of Contemporary Monthly magazine, said that Lu's gesture was an obvious signal she is forging ahead with her candidacy for the 2008 presidential poll.

"Lu has not found a `stage' in the office of vice president -- which gives her no actual power to do the things she wants. Therefore, Lu has been searching for another stage for herself to increase her exposure and publicity," Chin said, "And the DPP chairpersonship is the ideal position for her purpose."

Chin predicted that Lu would sign up for the party's 2008 presidential primary.

Meanwhile, Chin also took issue with some news reports that asserted President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) would become a "lame duck" president if Lu took the helm of the DPP.

Shih expressed a similar view and even believes that it was Chen who approved Lu for the position.

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