Taiwan’s 2012 presidential elections is now looking a whole lot more interesting with the entrance of James Soong (宋楚瑜), founder of the People First Party, into the race.
Soong is a one-time Kuomintang stalwart who came out to set up his own party in 2000, keeping it within the Pan-Blue Coalition led by the KMT. Soong’s decision to stand for president in the 2000 election split the pro-Chinese reunification vote and led to the historic rise of Chen Shuibian’s Democratic Progressive Party which broke the KMT’s decades-long monopoly on power, and then ruled Taiwan for the next eight years.
A decade later, Soong still remains a highly respected figure within the KMT. But history could repeat itself again as Soong’s candidacy damages Ma Yingjeou’s re-election chances and tip the scales in the favour of Tsai Ying-wen, the current chairperson of the DPP, a party with de jure Taiwan independence as its eventual goal. If elected, Tsai will become Taiwan’s first female president.
Wouldn’t things become really awkward if James Soong won the Confucius Peace Prize and then Tsai Ing-wen becomes president?