Amerry

Amerry

<>President Ma Ying-jeou must have heaved a deep sigh of relief. For his rival Tsai Ing-wen's long merry-go-round look for a running mate in the coming presidential election has finally ended to give him a welcome respite in his almost obsessive campaign for re-election. So must have Hu Jintao's Beijing. Hu and company have been really afraid that the opposition Democratic Progressive Partywould come back to power and do what Chen Shui-bian, the ex-president who is doing time for corruption and graft, did in the eight years of his sometimes capricious rule.

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<>Well, Tsai the DPP standard bearer came back to where she had started, and added insult to injury to the party's presidential primary underdog, former Premier Su Tseng-chang, in the tortuous process. When she won the nomination for president, there was unerring speculation that Su Jia-chyuan, her party secretary-general, would be her man one heartbeat away from presidency. After a long, long search far and near for a partner on the DDP dream ticket, she decided for her party chief of staff.

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<>Tsai's odyssey would have been justified except the injury to the pride of the man she needs most to help her oust Ma. In search for her would-be vice president, Tsai simply ignored Su Tseng-chang, who was Frank Hsieh's running mate in the 2008 presidential election. As a matter of fact, the elder Su begged for a chance to help defeat Ma, who had routed the Hsieh-Su team. After giving him a cold shoulder for quite some time, Tsai the presidential candidate gave him an audience where the elder man repeatedly asked “What can I do for you and how?” She shunted him aside.

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<>As the deadline for naming a running mate was drawing near — the Central Election Commission mandates that a vice presidential candidate should be placed on any presidential ticket before Sept. 20 — Tsai had to pocket her pride to come to the elder Su to offer him a chance to get on her ticket. The only answer he could have made was to turn her down, politely. But he couldn't meet her or phone her to tell his decision, which in the end had to be relayed via an intermediary.

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<>Su Tseng-chang is a calculating politician. He had declared he would never run just to play the second fiddle, but he could eat his words before you can say Jack Robinson. That's why he begged for an audience with Tsai to proffer his service. And he was glad he could prove he is a man of his word by turning the tables on her. Of course, he knows she hasn't a chance to win the election, come next Jan. 14. Everybody knows a still very conservative Taiwan is not yet ready to have a female president. Still remember what K. M. Koo, a self-styled don of the Taiwan independence movement, said to nip in the bud Vice President Annette Lu's early bird bid for president in 2008? “One who wears the petticoat can't be the commander-in-chief of the armed forces” the old man Koo intoned.

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<>But the Goddess of Fortune smiled upon Ma, who has been worried by the presidential bid of his former colleague James Soong, now the chairman of the People First Party. Soong split the Kuomintang by running for president in 2004 and might split the presidential vote again to help Tsai edge Ma out. Now, Ma's re-election is almost a shoo-in, unless something really untoward happens in the economy, because the vindictive elder Su wouldn't lift a finger to help Tsai.

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