Wu  Den-yih
Taiwan

Wu Den-yih

Premier

Date of Birth: 30/01/1948
Place of Birth: Tsaotun, Nantou County

Taiwan has kept a low-profile in Africa lately but that will change in late December when Premier Wu Den-yih pays a visit to Burkina Faso. Wu is set to attend the re-inauguration of President Blaise Compaoré on 29 December. Taiwan’s four African allies have received little high-level attention since President Ma Ying-jeou won office in 2008. Ma himself is planning an African trip, his first, in early 2011.

Born in 1948 in Tsaotun, Nantou, Wu began his career in the martial-law era under the Kuomintang (KMT) of Chiang Kai-shek. He studied history at National Taiwan University, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1970. Wu worked as a journalist for the China Times before winning an appointment to the Taipei City Council in 1973. He worked there until 1981 when he became a magistrate for Nantou County.

In 1990, Wu was made Mayor of Kaohsiung, a bustling port and Taiwan’s second-largest city. Upon the introduction of direct elections, he was elected to the same post. His elevation to the KMT Central Standing Committee in 1993 put Wu at the centre of the reforms rolled out under President Lee Tung-hui. He has since maintained a role at the party’s core, as a member of the Legislative Yuan from 2002-2009 and as KMT Secretary General from 2007 to 2009. Wu succeeded Liu Chao-shiuan as Premier in September 2009 after Taipei’s much-criticised response to the devastation of Typhoon Morakot.

The KMT suffered something of a reversal of fortune in November, after candidates from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party took two of five cities and drastically improved its share of the overall vote in the municipal elections.