The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday confirmed that the dean of the Tainan-based Chi Mei Medical Center, Chan Chi-hsien (詹啟賢), will join KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) campaign team.
The hospital was where President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) were first treated after an assassination attempt in 2004.
At the time, Chan dismissed speculation that the shooting was staged and that medical records had been forged.
Chan, an ethnic Taiwanese and a former KMT health minister, also has good relations with many in the pan-green camp, including former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝).
KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) had suggested that Ma choose Chan as his running mate, but that plan fell through.
KMT spokesman Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) yesterday confirmed that Chan will leave his post at the hospital to join Ma's campaign team.
"Chan shares the same goals as Ma and [running mate] Vincent Siew (蕭萬長), and he wants to do something for Taiwan," Su said yesterday at the KMT's party headquarters.
Su said the party had not discussed with Ma what role Chan will play on the team.
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said Chan's inclusion in Ma's campaign team would be a great help to Ma because Chan has a good reputation with the voters in central and southern Taiwan.
Chan has been very influential within the business community and has connections with both pan-green supporters and pan-blue supporters, Wang said.
"I believe that Chan will attract votes -- lots of votes -- for the Ma-Siew ticket," he said.
Some pan-blue lawmakers didn't agree however.
KMT Legislator Joanna Lei (雷倩) said that Chan should tell the public the truth about the assassination attempt before joining Ma's camp. He should hold a press conference "to reveal the truth" as the public had been haunted by the truth behind the shooting for three years, Lei said.
People First Party Legislator Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) said including Chan on the KMT's team would be unfavorable to Ma's presidential campaign. Ma should put the emphasis on the economy and people's livelihoods rather than on ethnic issues, he said.