Sat, Jun 02, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Analysis: Ma should choose carefully, analysts warn

OPTIONS While some experts said it was likely that the KMT's presidential candidate would choose a southerner as running mate, others did not see such a move as useful

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The political drama revolving around the proposed pairing up of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) finally came to an end on Thursday after Wang said no to a "Ma-Wang ticket."

While Ma expressed disappointment at Wang's refusal, analysts were not surprised.

They added that Wang's decision might not be much of a setback for Ma if he managed to find a running mate capable of boosting his support ratings.

"[Ma's] priority right now should be choosing a running mate who would complement him. He should show more imagination, be creative and find a refreshing and inspiring person," said Chen I-shen (陳儀深), a research fellow at the Institute of Modern History at Academia Sinica.

Although Wang met the requirements which Ma set for his ideal running mate, namely being an ethnic Taiwanese with a support base in the south, Chen said that Wang's support rate among pan-blue supporters was questionable after his embarrassing loss to Ma in the KMT's chairmanship election, while his image as a shrewd politician would not be a bonus to Ma.

Yang Tai-shun (楊泰順), a professor of political science at the Chinese Culture University, said that having shown enough sincerity to invite Wang to be his running mate, Ma should also demonstrate his wisdom in choosing a good vice presidential candidate.

"Wang would never have been able to boost Ma's reputation as his running mate. The failure of the `Ma-Wang ticket' should not be seen as a disappointment, as Ma can now start looking for a new person to raise his support rate," Yang said.

The KMT nominated Ma as the party's presidential candidate on May 2, and Ma formally offered Wang the opportunity to run on the vice presidential ticket on May 9.

Wang declined to respond to Ma's offer until Thursday, when he finally announced after a closed-door meeting with the presidential candidate that he would not take up the invitation.

Ma insisted that Wang had been his "one and only" choice and that he hadn't devoted any effort to searching for other possible candidates, but it is possible that Ma could consider an ethnic Taiwanese woman such as Chiayi Mayor Huang Ming-hui (黃敏惠) or KMT Legislator Lee Chi-chu (李紀珠) as running mate.

Ethnic Taiwanese with good reputations in the business industry or academics, such as Jason Lin (林蒼生), chief executive officer of the Uni-President Group, and Acer Group founder Stan Shih (施振榮), are also the subject of speculation.

Ma yesterday refused to comment on who he might consider as running mate, but said he hoped to find someone who would complement him and help him win the presidential election.

Although it is likely that Ma will pick a candidate from the south to complement his elite Mainlander background, Shih Cheng-feng (施正鋒), a professor at Tamkang University, said that Ma should not ignore Wang's support base in the south.

"It takes more than speaking Taiwanese, adding Taiwan-centered values to party regulations and selecting an ethnic Taiwanese as a running mate to be considered localized," Shih said.

In addition to choosing a running mate, analysts said Ma should continue to maintain a cooperative relationship with Wang, rather than making him a rival in his pursuit of the presidency.

"The pan-green camp may successfully draw Wang to its side if Ma does not deal with their already problematic relationship," Shih said.

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