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Ma takes KMT defeat as warning

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou, who doubles as chairman of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), said yesterday that the latest defeat in the legislative by-elections on Saturday comes as a “severe warning” for the party. But he vowed to continue pushing forward reforms for a better future.

The KMT took just a seat in eastern Hualien County, one of the four seats up for grabs in the by-elections. The opposition Democratic Progressive Party garnered the other three in the counties of Taoyuan, Hsinchu, and Chiayi, although the constituencies of Taoyuan and Hsinchu had previously been considered as KMT strongholds.

The KMT has altogether suffered defeats in four election battles since Ma won a landslide victory in the 2008 presidential election.

Responding to press queries after presiding over a ceremony in southern Tainan City to mark the Feb. 28 Incident of 1947, Ma said the defeat highlights that the KMT has not done enough to win public support. He offered an apology to party supporters.

“It is my firm belief that we should persist in pushing reforms in order to win stronger support. Only by doing so can we complete party integration and forge party unity to win future elections,” Ma said.

Most local political analysts were of the opinion that with its latest defeat, the KMT will face an uphill battle in the more crucial mayoral elections for the five special municipalities to be held at the end of the year.

Other KMT officials are also conducting intensive soul-searching over the party's latest defeat.

Party Secretary-General King Pu-tsung has asked KMT branches in key constituencies to immediately review the election results and present reports to be discussed at the party's policy-making Central Standing Committee weekly meeting Wednesday.

The officials said the latest setback will serve as a lesson through which the party will work out a better nomination mechanism for the more crucial mayoral races for the five special municipalities scheduled to take place at the end of this year.

King has said that his party will complete a new nomination mechanism this week, by which it will recruit candidates for the December elections by means of coordination among desired party members first.

Should coordination fail to work in deciding the party candidates, public surveys will be adopted, King said.

“By making the rules of the game clear as early as possible, the party will be able to better prepare for the upcoming contests,” the KMT officials said.

Taichung Mayor Jason Hu, who is rated as a top KMT contender to run for the position as new mayor for a special municipality that integrates Taichung City and adjacent Taichung County, is set to meet with King soon for discussion on election issues.

Hu is expected to make a final decision on his candidacy after the meeting with King this week.

He said yesterday that he is optimistic about the forthcoming elections.

But the KMT and the administration should more aggressively promote their policies to grassroots constituencies in the rural areas before December, he said.

In related developments, DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen declined to confirm or deny whether she will run in the municipality elections or seek re-election as DPP head.

Tsai said her top priority on hand now is to fully dedicate to her current job as a party leader.

It is still too early to tell if she will run in any of the five mayoral races in Taipei City, Xinbei City (which is transforming from the status elevation from Taipei County), Taichung City, Tainan City, and Kaohsiung City, she said.

The DPP presently controls the southern cities of Tainan and Kaohsiung.

March 1, 2010    mags.tw@
President Chen Shui Bian should be allowed to be elected as president of Taiwan again. Taiwan is better off with the DPP than with any other Taiwan political party.
March 1, 2010    jimmytswang@
President Ma keeps apologizing for the election losses. The public is tired of his apologies. Instead, he should resign the KMT chairmanship and focus on bringing the nation together again as a full time president. Not even in the USA a president would double as the chairman of his party, that is just not efficient. Perhaps by turn the KMT leadership to someone else, would he begin to be a more effective leader of the nation. The people are just perplexed by his lack of understanding of how to a true leader.
March 2, 2010    johnny.brian@
How many defeats does KMT need to learn again? Before, China was their foothold, now pushed to Taiwan. If KMT will not learn, perhaps they will be swimming in the Pacific Ocean or lost in the sea forever.
March 2, 2010    mtsai16@
mags.tw@ wrote:
President Chen Shui Bian should be allowed to be elected as president of Taiwan again. Taiwan is better off with the DPP than with any other Taiwan political party.
Chen Shui-bian is "certainly allowed" to be elected as president of Taiwan again. However, I think that you underestimate most Taiwanese citizens’ intelligence.

Here is a classic for all of us: "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!" ;-D~
March 2, 2010    mtsai16@
jimmytswang@ wrote:
President Ma keeps apologizing for the election losses. The public is tired of his apologies. Instead, he should resign the KMT chairmanship and focus on bringing the nation together again as a full time president. Not even in the USA a president would double as the chairman of his party, that is just not efficient. Perhaps by turn the KMT leadership to someone else, would he begin to be a more effective leader of the nation. The people are just perplexed by his lack of understanding of how to a true leader.
That would be a humble and face-saving move for a conscientious politician who cares about his party. But wait...I almost forgot that we were talking about Chairman "Mr. Clean" Ma, who appears to savor his every moment in the spotlight yet appears slow in cleaning out the Augean stables of his own administration: "It was a beautiful campaign," punctuated by a fist pump.

Rah Rah Rah! Give me an "M"! Rah Rah Rah! Give me an "A"! What does that spell?! Need I say more?

Is anyone looking at that stopwatch? How far has it been into his 15 minutes of fame?
March 2, 2010    mtsai16@
johnny.brian@ wrote:
How many defeats does KMT need to learn again? Before, China was their foothold, now pushed to Taiwan. If KMT will not learn, perhaps they will be swimming in the Pacific Ocean or lost in the sea forever.
"How many defeats does KMT need to learn again?"

They need as many as possible because the KMT is a special learner who requires a nurturing environment.

"If KMT will not learn, perhaps they will be swimming in the Pacific Ocean or lost in the sea forever."

I don't doubt that Mr. "Athletic" Ma and his cronies will be ready for your notational challenge...with their life vests in hand and lifeboats & outdated submarines in tow. [:-D~] Remember his educational policy requiring that every high school student pass a swimming test before graduating?
March 2, 2010    tkp_era@
In my opinion, despite of global crisis economy last years, Taiwan was able to survive. Otherwise people's basic needs should have been increased to the max in such a way even middle class can no longer afford to drive their cars. I believe the government is doing all efforts to protect its economic growth and regional peace. And we all know President Ma is doing his best to improve all sectors. If he fails, it's because the President needs a reliable team that can achieve results. He cannot do it alone without the trust and support he needed. For ex., DPP should extend their hands by helping the government and not focusing attacking the performance of President Ma or the KMT for its own political gain. I agree the ideology and principle of DPP in adhering that Taiwan should be considered as a country in international community. But the timing is not now. This cannot be solved in just few years w/o avoiding bloodshed which Taiwan is outnumber in terms of military figures. The success of a country is not solely from a great leader or of a political party. Instead, it's the growth of the people because the government is there to serve only the interest of its countrymen.
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