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Chen Shui-bian says Tsai has best chances for 2012

Former President Chen Shui-bian thinks it impossible for opposition leaders Tsai Ing-wen and Su Tseng-chang to form a presidential ticket in 2012, as they do not see eye to eye, a report said yesterday.

But Tsai stands the best chance of becoming the standard bearer of the Democratic Progressive Party unless she is not interested in running in the 2012 race, Chen was cited as saying by the China Times Weekly magazine.

“Tsai Ing-wen and Su Tseng-chang are seriously at odds, and they can never be partners in the (presidential) campaign,” the ex-president was cited as saying.

The DPP chairwoman, Tsai, and the former premier, Su, are nevertheless not the only two favorites for representing the opposition party, he said.

If Tsai decides against running and instead supports others, former Vice President Annette Lu and ex-Premier Frank Hsieh would be Su's strong rivals, he added.

The magazine said the interview with Chen, who is serving an 18-year prison sentence for corruption, was conducted via correspondence.

Chen told the magazine that he is staying alive for the sole purpose of seeing what will become of President Ma Ying-jeou.

While Ma is set to seek re-election under the Kuomintang banner, the opposition camp is still exploring the possibilities of various combinations.

Tsai is a rising star in the opposition camp, having led the DPP to a few election victories over the past two years and staged a strong personal showing in last year's mayoral race in New Taipei City.

Considered a favorite, Tsai recently expressed for the first time the possibility of running next year, amid calls from some supporters that she and Su form a presidential ticket.

Su was Hsieh's running mate in the 2008 presidential poll, but both are believed to be eyeing a comeback next year as the DPP standard bearer.

Lu, who was Chen's deputy, is also showing strong interest in becoming the first woman president of the nation.

Other leaders from the opposition camp have some other ideas. Former President Lee Teng-hui is reportedly looking to pair KMT Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng with Tsai in a presidential ticket against Ma.

Lee, who quit the KMT and inspired the founding of the Taiwan Solidarity Union, said the “pro-localization” camp must unite and a Wang-Tsai partnership would be the best possible combination, according to opposition heavyweight Koo Kuan-min.

The legislative speaker, as a KMT elder, has often been considered a threat to the incumbent president.

Koo, a strong advocate of Taiwan's independence, described Lee's suggestion as “unrealistic.”

Asked to comment on Chen's dismissal of a Tsai-Su team, Koo did not answer directly, according to the United Evening News.

Koo was cited as saying instead that he had told Chen that as ex-president, he must remain neutral, the paper said.

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