Chen Chien-jen is a popular political figure in the Republic of China. Better known as Taiwan or sometimes even Chinese Taipei. Chen has risen as far in the government as holding the second-highest ranking political office in the land.

An achievement possibly all the more notable as until very recently he wasn't a member of a political party. Last year, Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party took a thumping in a number of local elections. The results came in the midst of slumping popularity for the party in an overall sense among the country's electorate.

And with the hopes of picking up some public approval, the party is calling upon a familiar name.

Chen tapped as Taiwan's next premier

Chen Chien-jen is set to become the new premier of Taiwan, reports Reuters. The position is also known as president of the Executive Yuan. It is the rough equivalent to that of a prime minister in many other countries. He would succeed outgoing Premier Su Tseng-chang, who is in his second go-round in the office.

In 2016, Taiwan was holding a Presidential election. Democratic Progressive Party Presidential nominee Tsai Ing-wen selected Chen as her vice president if she won the race. Which she would do so in a landslide and in turn, Chen became the vice president.

But he would opt out of another term as vice president before the next Presidential election rolled around. Which it did in 2020. Tsai was re-elected in a similarly dominant fashion as before. Her new vice president would be former Premier Lai Ching-te. Lai also recently became the chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party.

Although he was no longer technically in the administration, Chen was still closely associated with it. The Financial Times notes that he served as Tsai's representative at the funeral of former Pope Benedict XVI.

Chen previously served as minister of health under Premier You Si-kun. Followed by minister of the National Science Council.

Initially for Su Tseng-chang in his first tour as premier, then for Premier Chang Chun-hsiung.

Chen has continuously been linked with the Democratic Progressive Party during his career in politics. But he himself only actually joined the party just last month.

Is an epidemiologist by trade

Chen Chien-jen is a native of what is now Kaohsiung. His father, Chen Hsin-an, was the county magistrate. The younger Chen would graduate with a master's degree from National Taiwan University in public health. He followed that up with a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University in human genetics and in epidemiology.

Chen would become renowned for his research on subjects including hepatitis B, liver cancer and arsenic exposure.

He became vice president of Academia Sinica and a trustee of Fu Jen Catholic University.

He has received a number of Catholic distinctions. Including membership in the Order of the Holy Sepulchre and the Order of St. Gregory the Great. In addition, Chen is one of the few members of Taiwan's Order of Dr. Sun Yat-sen.