Today’s news brought more on the continuing saga of Frank Hsieh and his off-again, off-again candidacy for mayor.

Former Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) has begun to think about the possibility of throwing his hat into the ring for the year-end Taipei mayoral election, a lawmaker close to him said yesterday.

Legislator Wang Shih-cheng (王世堅) of the Democratic Progressive Party also said that he thinks the chances of Hsieh running are high.

But according to DPP legislative whip Ker chien-ming yesterday, a meeting of a DPP team next Wednesday on campaign strategy for the elections will hold the key to whether Hsieh will run.

Although the DPP had targeted Hsieh from the beginning as the party’s ideal candidate for the Taipei election, Hsieh has repeatedly said that he has no intention of running. That has left the party in an embarrassing position with no candidate as yet selected, as no one came forward to register in the party primary in late May.

Wang said Hsieh has a great attachment to the DPP, noting that the former premier took part in the drafting of the party’s name and platform when it was founded in 1986.

However, in view of the DPP’s slipping approval rating due to a spate of corruption allegations revolving around President Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) close aides and son-in-law, running in the Taipei mayoral election will not be favorable for Hsieh, Wang claimed.

But it will definitely boost the DPP’s morale and secure its seats in the city councilor elections, according to Wang.

Hsieh, in case anyone has forgotten, has been tarred by the Kaohsiung Metro Scandal, and by his stint as premier. He left the both in an ugly way. But while the premiership was merely a failure, the Kaohsiung Metro scandal just won’t go away:

Kaohsiung prosecutors are investigating former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) on suspicion of accepting bribes from a construction company working on the city’s MRT, while one of his associates was detained in connection with the case.

Hsieh has been in prosecutors’ sights ever since the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp (KRTC) scandal came to light. Prosecutors have said that they are still investigating to determine whether Hsieh had any involvement in the scandal.

Chang Hsueh-ming (張學明), lead prosecutor at the Taiwan High Court Prosecutors’ Kaohsiung Office, told the Taipei Times yesterday that the Taipei branch of a Japanese construction firm, Taisei Corp, won a public bid for six major construction projects related to the city’s MRT project.

A Japanese official from Taisei named Ryoji Kikawa has been detained, along with a man named Chen Chien-ting (陳建廷) from an unnamed Taiwanese firm, for allegedly offering NT$32 million (US$1 million) to a man named Chang Chi-jung (張志榮), who was also detained.

Fascinating that with all these problems, Hsieh is considered the best the DPP can do for Taipei.