Thursday, May 17, 2007

Excellent Backgrounder on Frank Hsieh

Taiwan political commentator Ting-I Tsai has an excellent article on Frank Hsieh in the Asia Times Online:

The turning point for Hsieh came when he succeeded in persuading accused rapist and kidnapper Chen Jin-hsing, who was involved in the abduction of the family of then-South African military attache McGill Alexander in suburban Taipei, to surrender in 1997.

In January 2006, Hsieh's seemingly smooth political career tumbled again when President Chen apparently forced him to resign from the post of prime minister after the DPP's defeat in local commissioner and mayoral elections. His 10 months in the post were too short for Hsieh to prove his capability of leading the cabinet.

But based on his numerous disagreements with Chen and the DPP, he is ready to distinguish himself from the party's poor governance in the past seven years, according to his former aide and incumbent legislator Kuan Bi-ling.

After spending months at Harvard University, at the DPP's urging, Hsieh agreed to make a run for the 2006 Taipei mayoral election, though a victory for the DPP was considered slim.

In the campaign, he vowed to make culture, disadvantaged minorities, the environment, and Taiwan his priorities. Also, he planned to initiate a bid for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games as a way to upgrade the city's infrastructure. He managed his own campaign and explicitly declined Chen's assistance.

"His campaign manager didn't have to think of anything other than take assignments, for every detail was in Hsieh's brain," said a DPP politician, who declined to be identified.

Hsieh is obviously an excellent choice for Presidential candidate. The major debate now is over his choice of Veep. Yesterday a representative from 50 Hakka groups called for the DPP to pick Yeh, who is a Hakka.


Anonymous said...

The debate's over. It'll be Yeh.

Eli said...


That was a great article on Hsieh. She still uses the frame that his primary victory was a surprise though. Even in Taipei, anyone who was looking closely, should have seen it coming. The only thing that surprised me was by how much he won. Prior to the mayoral election, it might have looked like Su would be the candidate, but something happened that night when Hsieh lost. I have had this feeling since then that Hsieh would be the DPP candidate. I just heard it in the crowd and in the interviews we did that day. One problem was that as far as I could tell, there were no other international reporters there because they wrote off Hsieh's candidacy. So, they didn't see what was going on. Other than that, great article.

Eli said...

While I think it will be Yeh, I won't be surprised if he picks Su. The question is: if Hsieh does go ahead with his plan to pick Yeh, will the media then act as if they are surprised by his pick? "Many analysts had believed Hsieh would pick former Premier Su Tseng-chang. Some expressed surprise..."