Potential power struggles among promising politicians in the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) loom as discussions about President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) potential successor reportedly began immediately following Ma’s re-election on Saturday.
Of the possible hopefuls who could be the KMT’s next presidential candidate, Premier and vice president-elect Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) and Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) are widely seen as the three main frontrunners.
Chu, who was dubbed one of the KMT’s three most promising stars, along with Ma and Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強), yesterday declined to talk about his chances of emerging as Ma’s successor, saying that he would focus his efforts on municipal developments in New Taipei City (新北市).
“I’ve only been the mayor of New Taipei City for more than one year and there are many municipal issues I need to work on,” he said when approached by reporters for comment.
An examination of the KMT’s performance in presidential and legislative elections would also be a priority, Chu said.
In New Taipei City, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and her running mate, Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), received more votes than the 2008 DPP presidential ticket, and Chu said the KMT would reflect upon its performance and seek to make improvements ahead of the next election.
Hau, who won the Taipei mayoral election in 2010 over the DPP’s Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) by just more than 170,000 votes, also declined to comment when asked about his presidential aspirations, saying he would devote his efforts to fulfilling his campaign promises and completing his second term.
“The results of the election proved that President Ma’s direction is correct and voters approved of his performance … As the mayor in Taipei, I will focus on my work in the city and fulfill my duties,” he said.
Both Hau and Chu could face a stiff challenge from Wu in the race to be the KMT presidential nominee in 2016, with Wu’s inside-track as the vice president. Chu could also face questions about his failure to finish his second term if he were to win re-election as mayor and then leave the post to run a presidential campaign.
KMT spokesperson Lai Su-ju (賴素如) said it was still too early to discuss the issue, adding that the party would focus its efforts on examining its election performance.
Today, Ma will begin visits to all his campaign headquarters nationwide to thank campaign staff for their assistance during the election. He meets with campaign staff in New Taipei City today.