Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Blues to Commit Fratricide?

KMT heavyweight and legislative speaker Wang Jyn-ping met with PFP Chairman James Soong yesterday, and the Taipei Times is reporting that Wang said Soong will indeed run for Mayor of Taipei.

People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) has set his mind to run in the year-end Taipei mayoral election, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said yesterday. Although Soong has remained silent on whether he will run in the race, Wang, who had a private conversation with Soong on Monday, verified Soong's intention. Wang added that Soong has been complaining that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) didn't give him the opportunity to run in the race on behalf of the pan-blue camp. The result of the KMT primary for the Taipei mayoral race, being contested by former Taipei deputy mayor Yeh Chin-chuan (葉金川), former Environmental Protection Administration chief Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中), will be announced at the end of this month.

Back in 2000, the Blues split the Presidential Election, with the KMT fielding the unpopular Lien Chan, and the PFP, the other major pan-Blue party, putting up James Soong. Soong outpolled Lien Chan, but failed to capture the Presidency as Chen beat them both. Chen's victory is generally attributed to the split in the Blue camp.

Now the all-important position of Taipei mayor, once which has been held by the last two Presidents, is up for grabs, with Ma Ying-jeou presumably leaving to become the KMT's Presidential candidate in 2008. Taipei is a mainlander stronghold, and the mainlander vote was what propelled Ma to victory over Chen. Once again Soong appears to be ready to split the Blue camp in order to accomplish his political ambitions.

The difference being, of course, that six years ago Soong was riding a wave of popularity, having finished a short stint as Provincial Governor, founded his own party, and taken many Deep Blues out of the KMT with him. Now he has been out of the government for several years, lost two elections, and Ma Ying-jeou is luring his party members back to the KMT. Soong needs a high-profile post to rejuvenate his political aspirations, and breath life back into his dying party, and the Taipei Mayor position is just the ticket. Will Soong still have enough pull to defeat a KMT candidate and a DPP candidate? Either way, Soong's presence in the race cannot but help the DPP.

UPDATE: David at jujuflop schools the DPP in tactics:
If Soong runs for Mayor, the only possible benificiary would be the DPP. There is no way that Soong could get more votes that a Ma Ying-jeou supported KMT candidate. The only question is whether he could divide the KMT support base enough to let a DPP candidate in. And yet it seems he still plans to run.

Unless you believe Soong is a Machiavellian genius who has secretly worked for the cause of Taiwan Independence for the last twenty years, there is only one explanation for his behaviour: desperation. Soong’s popularity is fading, his party is dying, but he still lusts after power. Mayor of Taipei is just about the only straw left for him to clutch at.

If the DPP were competent, they’d be busy sponsoring surveys to show just how popular Soong remains to the man on a Taipei street, and hoping Soong’s ego forces him to run. Expect a resurgence of interest in the election from the DPP if he does.


Michael Turton said...


Anonymous said...

I assume there was some nice comment spam or trolling going on, haha.

Well, Greens are split too and are running two tickets as well, though Tai-lien is much weaker than PFP in a place like Taipei.