Ma Ying-jeou’s resignation as Chairman has left some big shoes to fill. Taiwan News reports on the problems the KMT is having finding a replacement:

No one within the Kuomintang has shown any willingness to run for the party chairman post in a by-election tentatively slated for mid-April or early May, not even acting Chairman Wu Po-hsiung, KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said yesterday.

Wu Po-hsiung is a Hakka from a faction in Taoyuan. Wu Den-yih is the former mayor of Kaohsiung, whom DPP stalwart and likely Presidential candidate Frank Hsieh sent scurrying from office before taking over to make large-scale improvements in the city. The article then goes on to give the reactions from the two major sides in the struggle, the Party Machine represented by Lien Chan and his protege Wang Jin-pyng, and the forces of former Chairman Ma Ying-jeou.

KMT Lawmaker Wu Chih-yang, Wu Po-hsiung’s son, categorically denied the media rumors that his father is gearing up to run for the party’s chair.

Wu Chih-yang said that “the top priority for my father now is building party unity and pushing Ma and Wang to discuss their presidential rivalry.”

According to lawmaker Hsu Shu-po, “it would be best” if Lien were to be handed the KMT chairmanship without having to take part in the by-election, and he called for members of the KMT to support this idea.

Wu Po-hsiung has yet to make public any intention to run for the KMT chairmanship, and Ma’s aides had better not to speculate over the issue, Hsu said.

Lawmaker Wu Yu-shen, a protege of Ma, argued that Lien should have to run in the by-election in accordance with the party’s mechanism if he is interested in assuming the KMT chairmanship.

“Whoever wants to become KMT chairman must follow the party’s system and get elected through the by-election in line with the party’s reform efforts,” he said.

If Lien Chan ascends to the position, which seems likely, his prospects for a third presidential run will improve markedly, and so will those of legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng. Traditionally the Chairmanship of the KMT is enormously powerful, a key position for placing supporters in key posts in the party, and for gaining access to party resources.

Note that the Ma side prefers elections, the Lien side wants him to simply ascend to the post. Because of longstanding cultural habits of deference to older authority — in this case, Lien Chan, the honorary chairman of the KMT and a party elder and insider — it is likely that no one will declare until Lien himself makes clear his position.