If anybody ought to benefit from the indictment of Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian‘s wife’s slush funds scandal, it should be Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou, who as the main opposition candidate would be a shoo-in to take over the presidency in March 2008 from a badly flagging Democratic Progressive Party.
But Ma is embroiled in his own scandal and the odds are increasing that he won’t run for the presidency, either because he is dumped as leader of the Kuomintang or because he has lost the desire to endure the slings and arrows of Taiwan’s ferocious political culture. Ma says he would resign as party chairman if he is indicted on corruption charges concerning the alleged misuse of the “special mayoral allowance.”
The country’s next milestone, and the next signal of voter disenchantment, is December 9, when Taipei and Kaohsiung choose mayors and city councillors. Latest polls show the Kuomintang mayoral candidate ahead in both cities. Victories there would help Ma keep his post as chairman. [Full Text]