Thursday, December 11, 2014

KMT Blues

UPDATE: Friday morning -- Eric Chu says he is running for KMT Chair but not president. If he stepped down from running New Taipei City, there would be an election, which the KMT might well lose. Then they would have no major areas in the half year run up to the 2016 election. More later.

Former President Lee Teng-hui called on current President Ma Ying-jeou to step down yesterday....
“Ma is incapable and shameless. He should step down as president,” Lee told reporters while attending the Presbyterian Church’s celebration of its 150th anniversary in Taiwan.
Lee also pointed out, as many have noticed, that the new cabinet is basically the old cabinet minus the premier and Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai, who made herself widely detested.

Lee's remarks, probably deliberately, echoed the language used by Ma Ying-jeou when he called on Chen Shui-bian to step down (video above). A president with 18% approval should step down! he said, a comment that was much derided when Ma's own presidential approval levels tumbled to half that. Ma also said that Chen was incompetent. My how our own words come back to bite us.

The KMT party's big'uns are not declaring their intention to run for Chair even though registration is tomorrow, Friday, Dec 12, and the 13th as well. The election is Jan 17. As I noted after the election, whoever takes the position now will likely have to step down if the KMT loses in 2016. WantWant says:
The bigger party figures seem to be watching and waiting to see what unfolds. The reason for their caution lies in the fact that most of them hold presidential ambitions for 2016 and opting to become chair now might not prove the best move. Such is the situation of Eric Chu, New Taipei's recently re-elected mayor.
The KMT news organ reported that a group of KMT legislators was pushing for Chu.
KMT legislator Liao Cheng-ching (廖正井) recently initiated and drafted a circular to prompt New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) to run for KMT chairmanship, and approximately 30 KMT co-sponsored. During a press conference held yesterday, Liao called on Mayor Eric Chu to throw his hat into the ring as Chu had a strong support base among the grassroots, a willingness to listen to public opinion, and the determination to push for reforms. Therefore, Liao said that Chu should stand up and lead the party, adding that if Eric Chu did not make a decision to run, he would collect the application form before the deadline on behalf of Chu if necessary.
It's a classic move among KMTers to pretend that one's supporters have compelled one to run for high office. But there is a perception that Chu will push for "reform", a much bandied about word with no clear meaning -- it is obvious that it will be limited and likely to focus on rebooting the party machine, especially its vertical linkages to local factions and local precinct captains (more on that below). The KMT is simply too invested in its China policies and the structural issues I have discussed at length elsewhere.

According to the WantWant report, current Taipei mayor Hau Long-bin is thinking about running for Chair. Another princeling son, the son of powerful far right dead-ender Hau Pei-tsun, he is usually seen as having little chance of winning a presidential election, though I think people tend to underestimate how his political sense has matured. For one thing, he has studiously avoided say stupid things like Wu in Taoyuan remarking that people who can't afford houses shouldn't buy them, or Sean Lien in Taipei, whose entire mayoral campaign was a mounting crescendo of gaffes. For another, when the Sunflowers occupied the legislature, Hau adopted an equivocal and conciliatory position.

The KMT released its list of reasons it got blown out in the election. The party essentially blamed the media and complacency. Conspicuously absent from that list are its China policy, the princeling issue, and other problems. The "cold treatment" issue there alludes to what I heard from people on the ground in Taipei, who were saying that many of the party's low level people found themselves ignored by the people at the top and middle. This disconnect helped negate the KMT's advantage of a better local presence than the DPP.

Chen Deming, China's negotiator over the Services Trade Agreement, visiting Taiwan this week, said that China will give the STA no more than two years to be ratified, and pointedly refered to the fact that the Korean FTA with China comes into force in two years. That would put Beijing's time limit to coincide with the 2016 presidential race.
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Carlos said...

What's Chu's history?

Anonymous said...

New Taipei Mayor, 2010-
Vice Premier, 2009-2010
Taoyuan Magistrate, 2001-2009
Legislator, 1999-2001
Full Professor, NTU
Assistant Professor, City University of New York

but most importantly,
-Son-in-law of Gao Yu-ren 高育仁, a 40-year office holder for the KMT, from Tainan. Was National Legislator, Tainan County executive, speaker of the Provincial Assembly, etc. etc. and "has been a member of the KMT central standing committee for 25 years" (as of 2010).
There are other members of Gao's family who are also local political officeholders.

-Son of Chu Chang-hsing, Taoyuan provincial assemblyman, National Assemblyman, ROC military official

-Chu's mother's family, on top of that, includes three local officeholders on the DPP side (she's benshengren 本省人).