Tommy Ryan: If this is the direction the rats are going that's fine with me!Well. As I was busy riding on the east coast this weekend, Eric Chu, Chairman of the KMT and the one person everyone in that party wants to run announced that he wasn't going to run and would explain why later...
New Taipei City Mayor and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) yesterday said he would explain why he is not running for president after the period for aspirants to sign up ends on May 16.Thing is, he sounds serious. In fact, for months the famous political prognosticator who inhabits the body of my wife has been saying there's no way he'll run, because he doesn't want to face losing. And several of my friends. And FormosaNation on Twitter, who has been right a lot lately.
But I just can't give it up. I can't believe he is not going to run. He's their best shot. On the other hand, this is the party that ran Lien Chan for President. Twice.
Solidarity as always with a great translation of a UDN piece that gives a picture of the likely disarray the party faces...
A legislator who supports Chu said he’s heard from his district that if the KMT nominates Wang Jin-pyng 王金平 for president, not only will northern grassroots blue voters be unable to vote for him, they may even campaign against him in protest; the KMT would basically be raising the white flag before the battle even begins.As many observers have noted, a strong candidate is needed to pull out votes for KMT legislators. The UDN piece points out an issue I noted before, the fact that losing elections causes Chairmen to resign, as Ma did after the November defeat. The way I see it, if Chu doesn't run, and the KMT loses badly, the losing legislators aren't going to say: "Well, we would have lost anyway." They are going to blame Chu and demand he resign. To be replaced, most likely, by Hau. Chu could find himself with nothing but his position as mayor of the nation's biggest municipality.
This legislator worries that these emotions could infect the legislative election. Looking at New Taipei, he said that while the party would hold Zhonghe, Yonghe, and Xindian (New Taipei 8, 9, and 11), it could lose at least 5 of the other 7 districts it holds in the city, including Banqiao.
He asked: If Chu doesn’t run, will the legislators defend their caucus? They will absolutely have to go home to look after their districts and will lose cohesiveness. Over the next year, it will thus be difficult to do legislative and governmental work.
He continued: Financial consortia have already gone directly to Wang Jin-pyng to stop Chu’s current highest legislative priority, the bills to raise salaries. If Chu is unable to mobilize legislators, how can he contend with Wang in the Legislature? “Even I am going to have trouble protecting my seat. How will others be able to sacrifice their lives for Chu?”
Frozen Garlic analyzed this as only he can. Read the whole post because it's great, but I excerpt this crucial bit:
A side note while I’m on the topic of the KMT presidential nomination. Yesterday the KMT announced that of its 350,000 members, only 90,000 or so are eligible to vote in the party primary. There are two large blocs in this 90,000: Huang Fu-hsing (military) system members and people over 75 years old. (Longtime members over 75 are exempt from paying party dues.) This means that while President Ma has very little support in the society at large, he and his faction will be very powerful in any vote of party members.In the Chairmanship election when Wang Jin-pyng and Ma Ying-jeou squared off, Ma won the popular vote. If that vote in the presidential primary is composed of the deepest of deep blues, Wang has little chance as a Taiwanese no matter what he has done for the party. As Froze put it so well:
Currently, the presidential nomination is to be decided by 70% polls and 30% party member votes. Wang and Chu both favor changing this to 100% polls. I think they want to cut Ma out of the process. Wang’s only chance of winning is to draw on his support in the general electorate. If Chu runs, he is favored to win no matter what the process is. However, with 100% polls he wouldn’t have to go to Ma and ask for support. There are always costs to things like that.
One of the downsides to the KMT’s culture of waiting for the rest of the party to beg you to take the crown rather than actively and overtly pursuing it is that no one has prepared for the party vote. Since no one is officially a candidate, no one has done the dirty work of making sure that their supporters within the party bothered to pay dues. As a result, the KMT expression of “party will” will reflect the preferences of old soldiers and older geriatrics.
If Wang gets the KMT nomination, the best case scenario is that Ma and Huang Fu-hsing will smile politely and stay seated. At worst, they might decide to go down swinging and back a minor party candidate representing the “true spirit of Sun Yat-sen.” There is no chance that they will thoroughly mobilize to elect Wang.Wu Den-yi? Lo Shu-lei, who led the ridiculous attack on Ko Wen-je for corruption in the Taipei Mayoral election, said that Wu Den-yi would make a great choice for President for the KMT.
The KMT news organ offered this tidbit:
According to the KMT's Presidential nomination rules, if only one candidate registered in the race, but the candidate did not receive at least a 30% support rating in opinion polls in the primary, he or she would not be nominated in the end. In that case, the KMT's Central Standing Committee meeting would directly draft a candidate, with the approval of the National Party Congress, held annually.Currently AFAIK only Deputy Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu has formally declared. Since she is unelectable, she might not pass 30% support. If Chu does not register, he can still be drafted in the party congress. Is this the political theatre he is hoping for?
REFS: Recent Posts on KMT, Reform, and Chairman Chu
KMTitanic 7: Existential Crisis -- KMT Shorts -- Chu Notes -- KMTitanic 5: Struggling for the Northern Lifeboats -- Chu Political Theatre -- KMTitanic 4 -- KMTitanic 3 -- KMTitanic 2 -- KMTitanic 1 -- Chu's Revolutionary Reforms?
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