Monday, September 04, 2017

HUGE: Lai from Tainan to the EY

A pink triceratops in front of a mall in Taichung, with massive books displaying other cute pink things. Yes, Taiwan's ability to generate kitsch exceeds all possibility of imagination. 

The news broke this morning that Lai Chin-de (William Lai), the Mayor of Tainan, is getting a promotion out of his city (Chinese, Chinese, English) and into the Executive Yuan. Premier Lin Chuan has resigned and Lai is taking over his position. The Sec-General and the Vice Premier are also stepping down tomorrow, Tuesday.

As many of us have expected, DPP President Tsai Ing-wen is moving out the technocrats and bringing in the politicians who can get things done ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. This gives Lai a chance to get national name recognition and give him central government experience. It also gives him a chance to show his face in the north.

Note that this gets him out of Tainan in a way that prevents it from looking like he is ignoring Tainan to run for the New Taipei City mayorship -- it would be a bit awkward if he were campaigning in Yungho or Chungho while still technically the mayor of Tainan. It seems obvious to me that eventually Lai will be begged to run,  in fine Taiwan style, for New Taipei City mayor in the 2018 election. And in fine Taiwan style, he will reluctantly accept.

If Lai is a success as premier, it will enhance his prospects for succeeding Tsai in 2024. Note that even if he is not a success, it may not affect his career at all. Quick, name the last five premiers.

Reuters celebrated Lai's replacement of Lin Chuan with another hit piece on Tsai -- Lin Chuan's resignation and Lai's ascension was about shoring up Tsai's "fading popularity". With quotes only from pan-Blue supporters, of course, and a cherry-picked poll to boot. I have nothing but contempt for that media organization.

UPDATE: @aaronwytze adds: DPP factions are probably furious about this. Lai could stack New Tide appointees in EY
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The link about China threatening invasion if Taiwan fails to unify is no surprise. That has been PRC policy for decades. One of the "Five Noes," or "Seven Triggers," or however-how-manys. Beijing has consistently stated that indefinite status quo, with lack of unification, will not be tolerated.