Mon, Feb 18, 2013 - Page 3 News List

PROFILE: Jiang to step into the limelight as premier

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

In October last year, Jiang reinstated his KMT membership, sparking speculation that he was Ma’s favorite candidate to represent the party in next year’s Taipei City mayoral election.

Lin said he believed that the professor-turned-politician has a strong sense of duty to participate in politics and that his academic credentials have equipped him with the ability to make decisions and formulate public policies.

However, whether Jiang will be able to successfully perform the duties of a premier, as stipulated in the Constitution, “is yet to be proven,” Lin said.

The Constitution adopts a dual executive system. Under this system, the president is the head of state, while the premier, although appointed by the president, is the head of the government, and is responsible to the legislature, Lin said.

If Jiang does not maintain strict adherence to the spirit of the constitution in carrying out his duties and instead considers himself “a chief of staff of the president,” he is likely to repeat the failures of his predecessor, Sean Chen (陳冲), who once described Ma as his boss, Lin said.

In this regard, Jiang has “got off to a bad start” because he seemed to accept an announcement made by the Presidential Office that Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) would serve as vice premier, a violation of Article 56 of the Constitution, under which the premier is vested with powers to appoint Cabinet members, Lin said.

In just five years in politics, Jiang has won praise for his sharpness of mind and eloquence.

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said that Jiang has demonstrated his “clearness” and “professional competence” in how he dealt with the intricate pension reform issue.

A veteran journalist surnamed Lee (李), said that what Jiang had most impressed Ma with was his idea that the government raise subsidies for eight groups of low-income and underprivileged people to counter the DPP’s proposed increase of an elderly farmers’ subsidy.

The policy, which was implemented two months before last year’s presidential election, was regarded by Ma as an important factor contributing to his victory, Lee said.

Seen by some people as a clone of Ma in terms of character, Jiang has been dubbed by some local media as “little Ma Ying-jeou.”

That label could be a burden, not only because Ma’s approval ratings have been low, but because it highlights his lack of persistence in implementing policies, Lee said.

Jiang might be good at mapping out visions and advertising ideas, but many of his proposed policies at the ministry of the interior ended up being fruitless, Lee said.

As an example, Lee said that Jiang had backed down on his commitment to include Kinmen and Matsu in then-newly promulgated territorial water delineations in November 2009, after security officials voiced concern that the move could create controversy, given that the waters are already claimed by Beijing.

Jiang also vowed to begin construction of social rental housing to provide people with affordable houses by the end of 2011, but the plan still only exists on paper, he said.

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