Sat, Jul 28, 2018 - Page 3 News List

ANALYSIS: Academics weigh in on Ma Ying-jeou Foundation

ALL ABOUT POPULARITY:One professor said that the foundation’s purpose is probably to keep prosecution at bay and not because Ma wants to be president again

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Normal University political science professor Fan Shih-ping (范世平) was more skeptical.

“I do not rule out the possibility of Ma running for office again. He would not have needed to establish a third foundation when he already owns two if he was not thinking about running again,” Fan said, referring to the New Taiwanese Cultural Foundation and the Dwen An Social Welfare Foundation Ma founded with a government election subsidy in 1999.

Regardless of what Ma’s real intention is, his newfound popularity seems to have put KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), who served alongside Ma as vice president from 2012 to 2016, in an uncomfortable position.

There has been speculation that Wu also covets the presidency, which was why he ran for KMT chairman last year.

If that is the case, Ma’s rising popularity not only risks undermining Wu’s position in the KMT, it also poses a threat to his presidential dream.

“Wu is stuck in an awkward situation. On the one hand, his fellow party members do not think too highly of his leadership, but on the other, Ma is gaining momentum,” Liao said.

With the nine-in-one local elections on the horizon, Wu cannot afford to let things get ugly between him and Ma, Liao said, adding that was probably why he had to show support to the former president’s new foundation.

Echoing Liao’s views, Yu said Ma’s growing popularity has undoubtedly put Wu under pressure.

“Although Wu has control over his party’s apparatus, the KMT, unlike the DPP, is more decentralized, which means there is more fear and less tolerance of other potential leaders,” Yu said.

If history is any indication, the delicate balance of power within the KMT will not last long, and when it is disrupted, yet another ugly power struggle is likely.

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