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Talk of the day -- Is a 'Crown Prince Party' emerging in Taiwan?

2014/04/20 18:26:15

Sean Lien, the son of Taiwan's former Vice President Lien Chan, emerged April 18 as the ruling Kuomintang's candidate for the Taipei mayoral election in November, after a fierce battle against veteran lawmaker Ting Shou-chung, his main competitor.

In the end, however, Sean Lien finished with a comfortable lead in both the public poll and the party member vote, which together comprised the KMT primary.

The 44-year-old candidate, from a wealthy and influential political family, is widely seen as a rising star on Taiwan's political stage but his ascendancy has been interpreted in some quarters as signaling the emergence of a "Crown Prince Party" in Taiwan.

The term "Crown Prince Party," which originated in China, is an informal and often derogatory categorization of "princelings" who benefit from nepotism and cronyism.

The following are excerpts of newspaper coverage of the issue:

Liberty Times:

Lawyer Wellington Koo, one the hopefuls in the opposition Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP's) Taipei mayoral primary, said he is worried that a "Crown Prince Party" is emerging in Taiwan, in similar style to mainland China, where the sons of Communist Party leaders are elevated to positions of power.

Sean Lien's victory in the KMT's primary in Taipei raises the possibility of the crony capitalism in China being replicated in Taiwan, Koo said.

It's "disturbing" that Lien so easily beat the 59-year-old Ting by using his father's political background and financial standing, Koo said. (April 20, 2014)

China Times:

The DPP said Saturday that Lien's victory was a setback for President Ma Ying-jeou, who is the KMT's chairman and was supporting Ting in the primary.

DPP spokesman Chang Dun-han predicted that the Taipei mayoral election on Nov. 29 would be a battle between "Chinese-style crony capitalism" and "new citizen civicism."

Meanwhile, National Taiwan University Hospital physician Ko Wen-je, who wants to run for Taipei mayor as an independent, said he was surprised by Lien's expensive and successful campaign that included newspaper advertisements.

"It's the first time I sensed that spending big money in the media could work. We can't afford" that kind of campaigning, said Ko, adding that he now has to think about how to compete. (April 20, 2014)

United Daily News:

Former Premier Frank Hsieh of the DPP said that despite its early start, his party's primary for the Taipei mayoral election will be completed in mid-June, relatively late compared with the KMT's.

DPP Chairman Su Teng-chang, however, brushed off Hsieh's criticism, saying "it is more important to have a good result." ( April 20, 2014)

(By Elizabeth Hsu)