I’m surprised no one has mentioned this yet. Do any of you watch the local news programs? This was a hot topic back when it looked like Chen would pick another running mate.
Chen choose Lu to stay on the ticket with him in 2004 to prevent any conflict within the DPP over a new VP candidate. Lu is a safe choice to continue in her position precisely because she is not a serious presidential candidate for 2008. Lu simply does not have strong support within the party and she is not closely identified with a viable faction. (Lu was of the Formosa faction, but I’m not sure of her current affiliation or if she even has one. Most of the former Formosa faction bigwigs are now either dead or wandering in political exile from the DPP.)
When it appeared Chen might dump Lu sometime back, the jockeying for who would be selected as Chen’s running mate intensified. The big swinging dicks of the DPP – Premier You Xikun, Taipei County Chief Su Zhenchang, and Gaoxiong Mayor Frank Xie – were reportedly all considered. All three of those men are also serious candidates for running as the DPP’s presidential candidate in 2008. If Chen were to select one of them as his running mate, he risks offending the other two (and prejudicing their chances to win the top DPP spot in 2008) just before a tough election in 2004. Why would he want to do that when he can just keep Lu onboard?
Lu was originally picked to run as Chen’s partner in 2000, not just because she was a woman, but because she had been Taoyuan County Chief. The DPP had traditionally run poorly in the northern counties of Taoyuan, Miaoli, and Xinzhu (Hakka territory). Lu is not Hakka, but the DPP hoped her favorite daughter status in Taoyuan would win them more support in an area in which they usually did not do well. (I don’t know how well this worked in practice, but that was the theory.)
Perhaps for this reason, when it appeared Chen would dump Lu, two other women’s names came up: Head of Hakka Affairs Ye Zhulan and Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Cai Yingwen – Ye because she is Hakka and Cai because she is a woman and perceived to be competent. For whatever reason, however, apparently neither one was thought to be attractive enough as running mates for Chen to dump Lu. I do know that one of the drawbacks of Cai is that she has never held elective office.