Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday said he was optimistic about his chances for re-election in the special municipalities elections, brushing off concerns from a key adviser to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) that the party could lose the 2012 presidential election if he were to lose in November.
Broadcasting Corp of China chairman Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康), who was drafted by the KMT to help formulate campaign strategies, said the mayoral election in Taipei City, a traditional pan-blue stronghold, was a battle the KMT could not afford to lose. He warned that losing Taipei City could cause a domino effect for President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) re-election bid in 2012.
“If the KMT loses the election in Taipei City, I don’t think the party can remain optimistic about a victory in the 2012 presidential election,” Jaw told reporters at KMT headquarters.
Commenting on Hau’s low approval rating and poor handling of municipal projects, Jaw said the Hau team should present a more solid campaign platform to attract voters.
However, Hau said the controversy over the Xinsheng Overpass and Taipei International Flora Expo should “come to an end soon.”
“I think the worst is over,” the mayor said.
Jaw also challenged the performance of the Cabinet and suggested a Cabinet reshuffle could improve the Ma administration’s communication with the public.
“Many Cabinet officials have poor communication skills … 80 percent of the officials should be replaced,” he said.
KMT spokesman Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) defended the Cabinet, saying it had “revived” the economy following the global financial crisis and that members respected Jaw’s views on their performance.
Asked for comment, Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said he agreed with Jaw that some Cabinet members needed to improve their communication skills.
However, he said “integrity” was a far more important attribute.
“That [Jaw] didn’t say anything about integrity means that he commends the Cabinet for its integrity — it’s very clear,” Wu said.
Yesterday was Wu’s one-year anniversary as premier.
“I have reviewed the Cabinet’s performance over the past year. Our Cabinet members are competent and clean,” he said.
“If they were incapable, how could Taiwan have been one of the most successful countries combating A(H1N1)? How could it have jumped from No. 23 last year to No. 8 in global competitiveness? How could its economy have grown 13.71 percent in the first quarter this year and 12.53 percent in the second?” he said.
He would not say if there were plans for a Cabinet reshuffle.
Wu’s confidence has not been mirrored in recent polls, however, with the majority of the public having an unfavorable image of him as he heads into his second year.
A survey conducted by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) last week put public approval for Wu at just above 40 percent, while disapproval for his governance record stood at 52 percent.
The perception that Wu was too cozy with big businesses and hadn’t done enough to address unemployment and economic restructuring were the principal reasons for the results, DPP officials said.
“This is basically a failing grade for the premier on his one year anniversary,” DPP poll center director Chen Chun-lin (陳俊麟) said.
“With his lackluster performance, the KMT’s election prospects are undoubtedly going to be affected,” Chen said.