My latest piece in Taiwan News is on the KMT Chairmanship election and its latest developments.
The KMT Chairmanship election heated up with both former Taipei Mayor Hau Long-bin and former Vice President Wu Den-yih challenging current KMT Chair Hung Hsiu-chu for her seat in the May 20 election. This trio was immediately parodied by Taiwan netizens as Hau-Wu-Chu (好無助), a homonym for "hopeless." Wu, a practiced politician, delivered an Oscar-worthy press conference, a Noh play of traditional references to Sun Yat-sen, calls for "power under unity" for the KMT, and a mask of tears for the memory of President Chiang Ching-kuo, who has the same kind of sainthood for the KMT that Ronald Reagan does for the US Republican party. Clearly the ability to summon tears at will is a must for would-be politicians in Taiwan.Should be "so hopeless" not "hopeless".
None of these politicians has much of a following outside the KMT. Indeed, this week Hau observed that Wu is one of the least popular politicians among the population at large, and said that if elected Chairman, he would make Terry Gou (Wiki), the head of Foxconn, the 2020 KMT presidential candidate. Gou is a (1) big businessman whose (2) primary business is in China, and (3) who will be 70 in 2020. I am sure that 1, 2, and 3 will make him very attractive to younger and working/middle class Taiwanese, and to younger members of the KMT.
But from the KMT point of view Gou would have one priceless quality: he could afford to pay for his own election campaign. The KMT might not be able to...
Steve Chan, who resigned his KMT Vice Chairman position last week, announced his candidacy. Some of you might recall that Hung Hsiu-chu was in SE Asia a while back trawling local Chinese communities for support -- this week she is in the US doing the same.
At least we did get an entertaining alternative candidate for the KMT Chair in the person of Han Kuo-yu... UPDATE: but for sheer awesomeness this song for Wu Den-yih announcing his candidacy cannot be beat.
In the DPP other individuals are declaring their interest in candidacies. Kuan Bi-ling, the DPP politico, said she'd be interested in running for K-town mayor. The tussle over New Taipei City, currently the nation's largest, looks to be quite interesting, especially if current Tainan mayor William Lai shows an interest in running, which he should do if he wants to become President. He would likely beat all comers. But for 2020 and beyond, many of us are thinking current Taoyuan mayor (can you even think of his name?) ____ will be a powerful dark horse presidential candidate. He's popular and appears to be doing a good job in Taoyuan. Current Taichung mayor Lin Jia-long is also said to harbor presidential ambitions.
The DPP's discussion of who gets what merely emphasizes how its geographic advantages are so powerful -- the DPP has a lock on the south and can develop new candidates with wide population bases, whereas of the KMT-held areas Miaoli, Nantou, Hualien, and Taitung lack the money and population to vault a politician to national prominence, except for corruption allegations. Whoever wins the DPP nomination in K-town and the election will automatically come into consideration as a possible presidential candidate, and certainly for higher national posts such as Premier.
Also apropro: Timothy Rich: Can the KMT rebuild itself?
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