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May 19, 2008

Final thoughts

Today is A-bian's last day in office. Tomorrow will be Ma Ying-jeou's first. I've previously blogged on A-bian's record, specifically mentioning several contributions I chalked up to him (forgive the poor writing in that article -- I'm always rushed when posting). And I'm obviously anxious about what might happen in Ma's term.

I won't have anything for you tomorrow. It's my anniversary and I'd like to avoid potentially depressing political thoughts. But I will outline three things that I think warrant our attention in the coming months.

First, there's Hsieh's upcoming shadow cabinet. How professional will it be? How will it compare to the KMT's think-tank, which was used as a sort of repository for future potential cabinet members? And how will it position itself vis-a-vis the DPP and the new administration?

Second, we should keep our eye on the legislature for several reasons. For one, there's potentially serious internal divisions showing up in the KMT caucus, since not all of the legislators are in lockstep with the incoming administration. Second, these guys still can't work as much as they should, so they could potentially damage the KMT brand. And third, it will be important to see how the DPP legislators handle being an opposition party -- they'll be on the attack a lot more since they won't need to defend the president or his policies.

Third, we have to see what Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) can do to improve the party's performance, image and election results. Her next electoral test is a comfortable year and a half away, slated for December 2009. That gives her time to turn some things around. We'll see how well she does.

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