Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is set to be confirmed as the DPP’s presidential candidate in 2012. Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will be the KMT’s candidate. Both parties are yet to select their vice presidential candidates. I have listed the likely contenders from both parties below with some brief analysis.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)
Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) – Su narrowly lost the primary and declared he had no interest in being the vice presidential candidate. However, he may still be persuaded to take the position.
Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) – the DPP’s presidential candidate in 2008 is still a key player in the party.
Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) – Su almost won the mayoral election in Taichung last year and is currently the DPP’s secretary-general. He is a strong campaigner and would be a good choice.
Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃) – the former premier is more likely to be considered for the premiership if the DPP win the election.
Chen Chu (陳菊) – the popular Mayor of Kaohsiung is unlikely to give up her position there to run in the election.
Lin Yi-hsiung (林義雄) – Lin distanced himself from the DPP during Chen Shui-bian’s presidency. He could be chosen as a well-respected figure who is not connected with the Chen Shui-bian administration.
Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲) – the Nobel laureate and former head of Academia Sinica has often stated his support for the pan-green side of politics. He is a possibility if Tsai looks outside the party for a vice presidential candidate.
David’s analysis: Despite Su Tseng-chang’s claims that he doesn’t want the job he could well be persuaded to take it. The results of the DPP’s opinion poll show that Su has strong support and if paired with Tsai they would form a strong ticket.
Su Jia-chyuan would be an excellent choice. He ran a strong campaign for the mayoralty in Taichung and is a Pingtung native. This would complement Tsai’s support base in the north. If Tsai chose Su Jia-chyuan it would also emphasize the generational shift in the DPP leadership.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)
Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) – many consider that the incumbent vice president is unlikely to seek a second term.
Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) – the current premier has a good relationship with Ma. He could see the vice president’s office as a stepping stone to the presidency in 2016.
Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) – the current speaker of the Legislative Yuan and a key power broker in the KMT. Wang is a somewhat enigmatic figure in Taiwan politics and his relationship with Ma has not always been good.
Wu Po-hsiung (吳伯雄) – the former KMT chairman may take the post as payback for stepping aside to allow Ma to become KMT chairman in 2009.
Eric Chu (朱立倫) – the current Mayor of New Taipei City is one of the rising stars in the KMT. He probably won’t take the vice presidential candidacy in 2012 but is a contender for president in 2016.
Chang Po-ya (張博雅) – current chair of the Central Election Commission.
Wang Ju-hsuan (王如玄) – current Minister of the Council for Labor Affairs.
Huang Ming-hui (黃敏惠) – current mayor of Chiayi City.
David’s analysis: To maximise their electoral prospects the KMT needs to choose a Taiwan-born person with a strong support base in central and southern Taiwan. Wu Den-yih and Wang Jin-pyng are the two heavyweights that fit this description. Wu is probably the most likely choice although it would mean that Ma would have to appoint a new premier before the election.
Another possibility is that Ma could choose a female running mate. Chang Po-ya, Wang Ju-hsuan and Huang Ming-hui are possible choices if the KMT goes in this direction.