KMT does some reflection after close by-election win
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Kuomintang (KMT) began some self-examination yesterday, after its candidate Yen Kuan-heng (顏寬恒) barely won an election for his father's legislative seat.
January 28, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
On Saturday, Taichung's Shalu (沙鹿), Longjing (龍井), Dadu (大肚), Wurih (烏日), Wufeng (霧峰) and Dali (大里) districts sent Yen to the Legislature by the modest margin of 1,138 votes.
Yen's win pales in comparison to his father's landslide delivery into the Legislature last January. In Taipei, KMT officials noticed.
“The KMT's iron rice bowl has corroded,” said KMT Legislator Chi Kuo-tung (紀國棟), referring to votes that are traditionally sure bets for his party.
A year ago, Yen's father was successful in Dadu — a stronghold of military families — and in Wufeng, which has a sizable population of civil servants, said Chi. This year, the younger Yen slipped by thousands of votes in Wufeng, and lost Dadu to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) rival Chen Shi-kai (陳世凱).
Chi said that he himself had canvassed on Yen's behalf in Dadu, and encountered unsmiling and impassive faces.
“I felt as if they were forced to be there,” he said. “In the past, the atmosphere was never so cold.”
Chi said he believes that the public is dissatisfied with the government's reform efforts, which may have affected their interests.
Another KMT official said that the party's central headquarters is set to deliberate over the Taichung election on Monday.
The party had campaigned and mobilized networks intensely on Yen's behalf — KMT Secretary-General Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) himself canvassed in Taichung 17 times, said a party official on condition of anonymity.
Though Yen won, his razor-thin margin of victory means that there is need to examine the campaign. The central headquarters has arranged for its Taichung chapter to report on Yen's campaign and relevant issues, according to the official.
Former DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen saw room for improvement in her party, too. “Our chairman and all party officials were fully engaged in this election, and yet we still came up short,” she said.
Yens Thank Voters
Meanwhile, the new legislator-elect and his father took to the streets to thank voters.
The Yen motorcade embarked on time at 9 a.m. sharp, sending local media on a spree to catch up. Over the next eight hours, father and son paraded through Shalu District, Longjing, Dadu, Wurih, Wufeng and Dali, looking relaxed and waving to passers-by.
Along the way, business owners and some members of the public were visibly warm. Some met the pair with applause, and occasionally a supporter lit a line of firecrackers.
The younger Yen told media that he will be careful with his mandate, and that he is fortunate that his family has a history of service to the area.
DPP candidate Chen Shi-kai delayed his own thank-you procession due to illness. Apologizing to supporters in a press event, Chen said that his motorcade will embark from Wurih today.
Legislator-elect Yen Kuan-heng, left, is flanked by father Yen Chin-piao in a motorcade to thank residents for his election, in Taichung, yesterday.(CNA)