"...he wondered, even as the sword came butchering between his ribs, how he had ever thought that the East, whose essence was treachery, could ever stand."O my. Last night beer and politics. The KMT is now in its death throes, which will likely continue for another couple of election cycles, and those of us who have long supported an independent, democratic, western-allied Taiwan are enjoying every minute of its drawn out exit. In the whole world there's not champagne enough to celebrate this.
According to the KMT media organ, the KMT finally "activated its plan" to get rid of KMT presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu. Didn't know they had a plan, did you? Everything's under control, nothing to see here:
The reports say that in today’s KMT Central Standing Committee (CSC) meeting, the KMT party central is expected to deliberate on a motion said to be tabled by Chiang Shuo-ping (江碩平), a CSC member, asking the party central to hold an extraordinary session of the National Party Congress (NPC) to review Hung’s nomination in an effort to replace Hung. It is reported that after deliberations, it cannot be ruled out that KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) will put Chiang’s motion to a vote and that if the motion is passed, an extraordinary session of the NPC will be held at the end of October.I've included most of the report because it is rich. Several media reports were saying that the KMT would first have to revise its charter to repeal her nomination -- which after all happened according to the rules -- but this one says they will simply handle this problem without a revision and draft Chu. Any KMT meeting itself would be against the KMT charter since 60 days notice is required for a party congress. This may create multiple grounds for lawsuits by Hung, who is just the kind of person to pursue them. I listened to her presser at around 6:30. A longtime central Taiwan news hound summarized it thusly:
If Hung insists on running to the end, Chu, as well as high-echelon party officials, will resign, according to the Taipei-based United Daily News.
The same reports say that a high-ranking KMT official has revealed that the KMT party central is now looking for a venue to hold an extraordinary session of the NPC, adding that the extraordinary session would most likely to be held either on October 17th or 24th.
According to the reports, the KMT party central decided yesterday that it would seek to withdraw Hung’s nomination and draft Chu under the current party rules in an NPC extraordinary session, instead of first revising the current party charter at the NPC extraordinary session.
The same reports say that yesterday, high-ranking KMT officials called on Hung to “demonstrate forbearance for the good of the KMT.” However, in a press conference yesterday, Hung stressed that she would run to the end, saying that she would not accept any terms for her to withdraw from her Presidential bid, nor would she bow to any unreasonable forces.
According to a TVBS report, seven KMT party workers who had been on loan to Hung’s campaign office to provide assistance in her campaign were suddenly asked by the KMT party central to return to their regular posts. Although this was denied by the KMT in a press release yesterday, Hung’s campaign office staff confirmed last night that the seven party workers had already cleaned out their desks and left the premises, implying that it was the KMT party central that ordered them to leave, according to TVBS report. The staff said that a campaign rally for Hung scheduled for Thursday in Taoyuan City had also been hastily canceled, according to the same TVBS report.
Few quick comments on her just finished press appearance. She repeatedly stressed one thing over and over again, that the problem was that she hadn't made herself clear enough. She stated that Eric Chu's comments on her cross-strait policies being at odds with the party was 'unacceptable', and went on to say that they just needed to sit down and discuss so she could...make everything clear. In answer to a question, she said 'I love this party [KMT], but I must stick to what I know is right' (paraphrasing, I don't remember the exact words). The entire thing can be summed as saying this simple message: "I'm right, the only problem is I haven't been able to make clear enough to everyone that I am"That "I'm not communicating well" is the mantra of KMTers whenever their ideological fantasies run into the brick wall of reality. The Taipei Times recorded her words:
Hung later issued a strongly worded press release expressing her “deep regret” over the committee’s decision, which she said would only plunge the KMT deeper into crisis.Everything has to happen by Nov 27, the last day to register a candidate. The papers have not been drawn up and stamped for Hung by the KMT, noted a local political observer to me over beers last night. Hence the emergency session slated for the next couple of weeks. The election is about 10 weeks away. LOL...
“The party … does not belong to any individuals, party staff or its members, but rather to whoever cares about it. Without public support, the party cannot survive, and will even lose its meaning and reason for being,” Hung said.
One longtime observer's theory is that Beijing, which has never supported Hung, called up Chu's father in law, a longtime KMT heavyweight and Taiwanese, who is in deep in the China business, and demanded that he get his son in law the nomination.
A comic making the rounds. The "Change Hung!" team is on the upper tier of the KMT castle, while below the "Retain Hung!" team fights them. Outside the opposition enjoys the civil war. Note the subtle touch: the Retain Hung team flies the KMT flag, but not the Change Hung team.
Take a moment and consider. KMT Chairman and putative savior Chu is now deeply wounded, win or lose. He isn't going to save the legislature, and the Deep Blues are going to be deeply angered when their icon Hung who says all the things they want to say is replaced by the bland accounting professor Chu. They will stay home in droves, betrayed -- they lost their pension bonuses in retirement, Ma's reform of the bureaucracy has alienated many of them, their candidate Hung is going, and their homeland and source of their identity is lost -- the KMT has left them nothing, they will say to themselves. UPDATED: Solidarity posts Cross Strait Policy Association poll on KMT/Chu/Hung: Chu gets hammered in poll
How alienated are the Deep Blues? J Michael Cole noted in his piece at the excellent CPI blog on yesterday's protest at KMT HQ:
Outside, the anger was palpable.Like Hung herself, the type specimen of the Deep Blues, the Deep Blues never learned that the essence of the KMT is betrayal. Those who serve the KMT and help it betray others are always shocked when they themselves are betrayed...
“After 30 years, I’m beginning to wonder whether I made the wrong choice,” a supporter of Hung, surnamed Liao, told me outside the KMT headquarters. According to him, the KMT’s decision to drop Hung—and to change its party regulations at the eleventh hour—was “undemocratic” and did not respect due process.
“I feel betrayed by my party,” he lamented. “You can’t just drop her and change the rules because her numbers are low.”
Another protester, surnamed Lee, was also outraged by the recent developments at the party she had always voted for.
“Hung is the best person to protect our country, the Republic of China on Taiwan,” she said. “Tsai Ing-wen of the DPP is nothing but empty promises and lies … she wants independence and to cut off Taiwan from China.”
Hau Long-bin, another mainlander princeling, is running for a legislative seat in Keelung. He's an outstanding example of how the mainlander elites screw the local Taiwanese politicians -- whom they have a deep-seated ethnic contempt for -- he was parachuted into a safe seat, and has now engendered 3 independent candidates there to run against him, as well as the DPP candidate. It's very likely that Hau won't make the legislature, and he can't be on the party list. He'll have nothing.
The two decade-long war between the bitter-end KMTers (non-mainstream faction) and the Taiwanese KMTers and their mainlander allies (the mainstream faction) will again play itself out at the coming Congress, where it is by no means assured that Hung won't win out in the end (though I do not consider that likely).
The one and only person who can save the KMT is Wang Jin-pyng, the Speaker of the legislature, who is the unofficial head of the Taiwanese faction politicians. But Ma Ying-jeou, the President who has the KMT in his grip, supports Hung and hates Wang. Thus, the best they can do is Eric Chu. It will cost them votes and likely control of New Taipei City, for a campaign that is destined to lose. After Chu loses he will have to resign as Chair, forcing a new election in the KMT for Chairman. A friend noted that King Pu-tsun, Ma's Piter de Vries, is preparing the chairmanship election. That makes it likely someone in the Ma faction will get the nod, meaning that he will continue to damage the KMT.
James Soong? His poll numbers have already tanked. As a friend pointed out to me over beers last night, he's been silent. Still angling for a deal, perhaps the Veep spot on the KMT ticket? It's not too late.
Inspired by Soong's gaffes about females, New Bloom talks about the election, Tsai, and Hung and Confucian family values. Several people I have talked to are excited to vote for Tsai not only because they are Green, but also because they want to see a female as president. Recall that Tsai is a Hakka and also puts a stake in the longtime KMT claim that the DPP would screw the Hakkas if it ever got power. There's a lot silently working for Tsai in this election...
Meanwhile China is inserting its hand in the election another way. The media here is reporting that China is going to slash tourist numbers -- which will be very good for the island, many of us who like its beautiful places are cheering -- in order to accommodate space on planes for Taiwan businessmen who want to return and vote.
The Mainland's tourism operators confirmed that as the KMT was facing an up-hill battle in the run-up to the January 16 general elections, and because the 2016 Presidential Election was close to the Chinese New Year holidays, the Mainland's plan to limit the number of tourists visiting Taiwan was intended to make seats available on cross-Strait flights for Taiwanese businessmen on the Mainland to return home to vote in the elections and enjoy the holidays. Mainland travel agencies reportedly would follow the government's policies so as to make it more convenient for Taiwanese businessmen on the Mainland to return home for the elections.The Ma Administration continues its policy of irritating relations with nations whose support it needs, this time in the fisheries dispute with Phils. Just a taste of the kind of damage the KMT is doing to Taiwan in these last few months of Ma's failed Administration...
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