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May 29, 2017

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Ma should prepare to step aside, foster new leadership

According to a poll conducted by the Want Want China Times Public Opinion Survey Center last week, almost one out of every two eligible voters does not approve of President Ma Ying-jeou continuing to double as chairman of the Kuomintang. Altogether 49.3 percent of the 832 respondents in the Jan. 23 survey said they do not think it's good for Ma to remain party chairman after his current turn is over in October. Only a 24.1-percent minority approved of his running for re-election, while the remaining 26.6 percent expressed no opinion.

Asked to rate Ma's performance as Kuomintang chairman, a 58-percent majority considered it unsatisfactory, with a 20.1-percent minority satisfied and the remaining 21.9 percent unable to rate. They were also asked whether Ma's re-election as party chairman would positively help his government. A mere 20.1 percent said "yes," while another 11 percent answered it would "negatively help" and a 48.4-percent plurality considered it "to be of no help whatsoever." The remaining 20.3 percent said they "don't know."

Polling isn't a science, and can at best show how the polled think when they are polled. But it often points to a general trend. So, despite Ma's popularity ratings sitting at an all-time low of 13 percent, close to one in every four people think he can run for re-election. Of course, Kuomintang Legislator Tsai Cheng-yuan is questioning the legality of his re-election bid. As part of opposing Ma running for re-election after already serving two terms, Tsai cited the Civil Association Act and the Kuomintang charter as well as a Taiwan High Court ruling against Chunan's Mayor Kang Shih-ju's election to a third term. The Kuomintang insists that Ma isn't running for a third term, however.

President Ma's record-low approval ratings indicate that people think he isn't doing his job well. Close to six out of 10 people believe he isn't doing his job of Kuomintang chairman well, either. Moreover, an almost equal number of people — a combined 59.7 percent of the polled said his re-election to the position of party chairman would be of "no help" or "negative help" to his government — deem it better for him not to run for what the Kuomintang claims is a second term. It's time for President Ma, who has to bow out in 2016, to think of retiring as Kuomintang chairman.

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