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Editorial

KMT division imminent without a fair leadership race

In less than a week, six candidates will vie for the Kuomintang (KMT) leadership in one of the most important and potentially divisive elections in the party's history.

In the interest of the six candidates in the KMT election and of the party's stability, we urge party central to act immediately and proactively to investigate any allegations of irregularities that could hamper fair elections on May 20.

The party's election supervisory agency must accelerate its movements for the greater good and not for narrow individual interests.

It must investigate all alleged election irregularities and, upon confirming any violations, disqualify the offender from the race.

On the flip side, the agency must also identify baseless accusations to prevent groundless attacks among candidates.

Unchecked, such attacks would create rifts that would be hard to mend once the election is over.

If the party cannot guarantee the fairness of the chairmanship election, its newly elected leader would be faced with the imminent division of the KMT — and party central would bear total responsibility.

The issue of procedural fairness in this election is something the party must give attention to, lest the runners-up and their supporters contest the result after May 20.

Such challenges would tear the party apart, making its already precarious situation worse.

If the fairness of this election is called into question, so too would the winner's legitimacy as he or she tries to unify the party and steer it toward reform.

In the end, without ensuring the former, the latter becomes merely empty slogans.

Criticism of the KMT has commonly been focused on "black-box operations" and internal strife.

If any candidate has any doubt of the fairness of the KMT's chairmanship election, he or she must immediately report it to party central to keep shoddy elections from thwarting the party's effort to transform itself.

If, on the other hand, a candidate were to keep key evidence hidden for personal gain in order to exact a "fatal blow" against a rival — in other words, using the evidence later to overturn the election — they would be doing so with a selfish intent in the guise of fairness. Such a candidate would only bring further damage to the party.

We remind the KMT's central headquarters that only a party built on a foundation of fair elections can lead a credible political campaign.

And only a party with a credible political campaign has a chance of winning the support of the Taiwanese electorate.

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