May 19, 2008

Taiwan's DPP Gets New Head - Thank Goodness

Taiwan's leading opposition party the DPP has had a bad year. It lost the legislature and lost the Presidency, but it itsn't all bad. The party goes into four years of opposition tomorrow with a new leader Tsai Ing-wen. A former Vice Premier, a former Minister responsible for relations with China, and a former Chair of the APEC Group on Services - appointed at the APEC Senior Officials Meeting in Wellington in February 1999 (no China she won't amount to anything) Tsai is something of an enigma. The daughter of a very wealthy establishment family Tsai has spurned the status quo to fight for an independent image for Taiwan. A genuine PhD from London School of Economics in 1984 Tsai had a distinguished academic career before being appointed to various roles in Government under former President Lee Teng-hui. She is the author of the famous "two states doctrine" which really pissed China off a few years back.

Tsai knows New Zealand and many New Zealanders well. She regards Helen Clark as something of a role model. There is genuine affection for Tsai throughout Taiwanese society and we would not rule out her one day becoming President.