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KMT Must Accelerate the Tempo of Its Transformation

icon2016/09/09
iconBrowse:681

KMT Must Accelerate the Tempo of Its Transformation

 

United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)

A Translation

September 8, 2016

 

Executive Summary:

 

The Tsai government is in chaos. This provides the KMT with an opportunity to accelerate Blue camp transformation and renaissance. The KMT must offer a forward-looking vision. It must boldly take a firm stand on behalf of the true interests and benefits of the Taiwan public. It must offer constructive alternatives to DPP policy in order to win public support. Internally, comrades who take the revitalization of the Blue camp seriously must forsake selfishness and be more willing to consider the big picture. Hung Shiu-chu must keep an open mind. Only then will people of talent and constructive recommendations come pouring in.

 

Full Text Below:

 

Under the color of the "The Statute Governing Ill-gotten Assets of Political Parties and their Affiliated Organizations," financial institutions have, one by one, ceased lending funds to the KMT. This has exerted tremendous pressure on the party’s liquidity. The KMT party central has suspended monthly retirement pension payments and the 18% preferential interest payments on lump-sum retirement pensions now deposited in bank savings accounts. It has been forced to make spending cuts, and further adopt a whole range of measures to cut staff. Almost all of these have been passive responses to events swirling around it. Following its election debacle, the KMT appears to have yet found the drive and direction to start anew.

 

Consider Hung Shiu-chu's moves since she became KMT Chairperson and her substantial changes to the party central. She scored several election victories, such as in Hualien City and Tianwei Township. She has officially incorporated the promotion of Cross-Strait Peace Agreement into the KMT party platform. These are all positive moves. But the impact of these, both politically and socially, is relatively small. Put simply, these moves are not enough to attract outside attention. Nor are they enough to unify the party from within, never mind revive blue camp morale.

 

In fact, the new government has failed to win people's hearts and minds. This provided the KMT a golden opportunity to demonstrate oversight, insights, and stature in its role as the political opposition. Unfortunately, the KMT dwelt exclusively on being the victim of persecution, such as DPP’s pursuit of KMT party assets, instead of caring for hardships endured by the public and for a more balanced development of the nation. The manner in which it expressed itself, with complaints, sarcasm, and bad-mouthing, has not won public sympathy. Therefore, the new government's failure to win public support has not led to a corresponding rise in support for the KMT mainly because the KMT has failed to transcend its old stereotyped behavior. It has not given people the impression of change.

 

Looking forward, the KMT faces three major obstacles. It must overcome these obstacles if the Blue camp is to have a real chance at transformation and rebirth. Otherwise, if it busies itself with trivialities, with a war of words and merely goes through the motions, it will not be able to revive itself.

 

The first of the KMT's three major obstacles is the lack of an internal party line. Next year's party chairmanship election will apparently be contested only by Hung Shiu-chu and Wu Den-yih. That is not a good sign. Wu and Hung each have their strengths and weaknesses. But neither has offered a vision for the party attractive enough to inspire the public. Meanwhile, rival party factions are covertly mobilizing. The battle is bound to form along "nativist" and "non-nativist" lines. It amounts to another round in the unfinished battle between Hung and Wu over the party chairmanship earlier this year when Wu chose not to run at the 11th hour. If the chairmanship election leads to increased divisions within the party, it will be obtuse beyond belief.

 

The second major obstacle the KMT faces is the 2018 county and municipal elections. When Eric Chu was chairman, he demanded that six at-large legislators resign after serving only two years, and even sign agreements to that effect and to run for city mayors and county executives. But Hung Shiu-chu apparently has no intention of meekly complying with rules laid down by Eric Chu. She proposed an alternative—a primary election system to nominate more newcomers. In fact, both models have their limitations. The biggest problem is that new or old, there are no strong candidates to be found. So how can the KMT have any winners? The KMT party central must be more aggressive. It must help candidates with potential establish public images. It must provide them with election opportunities. Merely waiting for candidates to emerge from normal party work processes offers little chance of victory.

 

The third major obstacle the KMT faces is its procrastination and indecision in letting go of its party assets. KMT party assets have become a major political burden. The KMT should use the opportunity to relieve itself of this burden once and for all. It should conduct a thorough inventory of party management and staff. This would help accelerate the downsizing and restructuring of the party. This should be regarded as a blessing in disguise. A party that is besieged by varied difficulties that continues to support seven to eight hundred party workers and thousands of retired party workers, can only dwindle its already paltry assets with no prospects for the future. However, currently, only Vice Chairman Tsan Chi-hsian has expressed a desire to put an end to this. Others remain filled with grievances and complaints. But that only makes it more difficult for the party to make a new beginning. In reality, the KMT must cease defending and start attacking. It must let go of grievances and lamentations over party assets. It must turn the tables on the DPP, and attack its illegal expropriation of civilian assets. It must demand that party assets be used for public welfare. Only then will divesting itself of its party assets accrue to its own favor, and polish its own public image. Only then can it effectively attack DPP pursuits for KMT party assets, as well as the DPP’s high-handedness and its legal transgressions.

 

The Tsai government is in chaos. This provides the KMT with an opportunity to accelerate Blue camp transformation and renaissance. The KMT must offer a forward-looking vision. It must boldly take a firm stand on behalf of the true interests and benefits of the Taiwan public. It must offer constructive alternatives to DPP policy in order to win public support. Internally, comrades who take the revitalization of the Blue camp seriously must forsake selfishness and be more willing to consider the big picture. Hung Shiu-chu must keep an open mind. Only then will people of talent and constructive recommendations come pouring in.

 

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