January 19, 2023 10:10 GMT
Replacement Of Premier Comes As DPP Power Centre Shifts To VP Lai
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The resignation of Premier Su Tseng-chang comes as the latest shift within the governing centre-left Taiwanese nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to indicate the transition of power towards new party chair, Vice-President Lai Ching-te. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen stepped down as DPP head late in 2022 following a disappointing set of local election results, an outcome that also appears to have spurred the resignation of Su and his cabinet.
- Lai was confirmed as new DPP chair on 15 Jan, and is seen as the overwhelming favourite to be the DPP candidate in the 2024 presidential election (Tsai is term limited). He is viewed as holding 'deep green' convictions, i.e. being very strongly pro-Taiwanese independence, but has also sought to build up trust in the US that he would not act rashly if he takes the presidency.
- While there is still some time to go before the vote (latest by 20 Apr 2024), opinion polling shows the choice of candidate by the main opposition centre-right Kuomintang (KMT) could prove crucial. Should the KMT, which is seen as less overtly pro-Taiwanese independence, select party chair and 2016 presidential candidate Eric Chu, the party stands to come a distant third. However, selecting popular New Taipei mayor Hou Yu-ih could see the party take power.
Chart 1. Presidential Election Polling with Different KMT Candidates, %
Source: FT, Formosa. Fieldwork 21-22 December 2022