Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) is “almost certain” to be President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) running mate in the presidential election in January next year, a local newspaper reported yesterday.
The Chinese-language China Times reported that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was expected to declare Wu’s candidacy before the party’s plenary session on June 25.
Although Wu’s vice presidential run has yet to be confirmed, his close interactions with Ma in the past month are an indication that barring some unforeseen event, the Ma-Wu ticket is almost a done deal, political observers said.
The China Times quoted informed sources as saying that Wu’s key staff in the Executive Yuan have moved into Ma’s campaign headquarters, another sign that he will be Ma’s running mate.
Observers also pointed to the KMT precedent of selecting a Cabinet chief to run for the nation’s second-highest office.
As to the question of whether Wu would quit as premier to run for vice president, senior government officials said it would be too risky to change the administrative team just six months before heading into a critical campaign, the report said.
As such, it is quite unlikely that the president will reshuffle the Cabinet, they said, although a minor reshuffle cannot be ruled out.
Political observers said that main reason for Ma choosing Wu as his running mate was Wu’s “fighting spirit” and “combat power.”
The eloquent and outspoken Wu can stand up to the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) presidential candidate, Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), and her running mate, who has yet to be decided. Wu also has rapport with people and government leaders at a local level.
During the KMT Central Standing Committee meeting on Wednesday, Ma praised Wu as having achieved the “three missions” assigned to him two years ago, the report said.
The three missions refer to the reconstruction work after the devastating typhoons of 2009, control of a flu outbreak and reviving the economy.
In related news, a recent poll conducted by the Chinese-language United Daily News found that 46 percent of respondents were positive about Wu’s performance, while 41 percent gave the administrative team a positive rating.
As for Ma, 45 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with his performance, but 41 percent were not — an apparent split in the public’s perception of the president.