The China Times (via KMT media organ translation) reports that the KMT will not change the Party List Rulz [WARNING: MAY CONTAIN RULES-LIKE SUBSTANCE] to keep current Speaker Wang Jin-pyng on the list of legislators who get seats if the KMT does well in the election...
The KMT is starting its nomination process for its at-large legislators on the party list. Some are wondering whether the KMT would revise its party rules to accommodate Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), who has been elected on the KMT’s party list as an at-large legislator for three consecutive terms in 2004, 2008, and 2012 but cannot be re-nominated again for a fourth term according to existing party rules. According to an informed source, the KMT party central was inclined to maintain rather than amend its current party rules. However, the same source stated that if any member of the Central Standing Committee (CSC) had a different opinion and introduced a motion to amend the party rules, the CSC would handle the motion according to the rules of procedure and KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) would announce the final outcome of the deliberations....since Wang's power base is in Kaohsiung, a DPP stronghold, and he hasn't announced a run there, it seems unlikely he will enter the race at this late date and probably wouldn't win if he did. But if doesn't get on the Party List he's finished, unless KMT Presidential Candidate Hung Hsiu-chu makes him her Veep candidate, that's highly unlikely. Recall that the Taiwanese factional wing of the KMT looks to Wang for leadership. What will he do when he's out in the cold? Wang is a lifelong broker, not a leader, and my suspicion is that he will make a few mild remarks and then do nothing. But all the Taiwanese who've been slogging in the trenches for a political party whose leaders despise them may revise their opinions accordingly. UPDATE: Solidarity catches piece on Wang warning his downfall will only hurt KMT.
Note that in local institutional culture, when something is handled "according to the rules of procedure" it is code meaning someone is getting screwed. In this case, that will be Wang. Remember President Ma Ying-jeou is running the show, and he hates Wang.
Since President Ma is running the KMT, and much of the day to day affairs are in the hands of another mainlander princeling, Hau Lung-bin, son of bitter-ender Hau Pei-tsun, I suspect the party list is going to be full of ideologues like Ma and Hung. It wouldn't surprise me if they propose a full slate of mainlander princelings and the like, with perhaps a token Taiwanese.
Chu is out as presidential candidate, gravely wounded by Ma in the struggle within the KMT for the Party's soul. He doesn't want to be President. Wang will be finished. Hung is a loser. PFP leader and KMT turncoat James Soong is basically a fish wrapped in a newspaper: won't be hearing from him again. Who does this leave for 2020? I am thinking that Ma is clearing the way for Hau Lung-bin to lead and maintain elite mainlander ascendancy over the KMT.
Another issue: If Wang is out, that could have grave implications for legislative cooperation with the DPP's Tsai Ing-wen, currently the likely next President. Wang was wont to work with the DPP, one of the reasons that Ma went after him so obsessively two years ago. With the diehards in ascendancy in the KMT and with no Wang to smooth things over, the KMT could become (hard to imagine this) even more uncooperative and obstructionist. This is yet another reason why Tsai MUST have a legislative majority. But a new threat is emerging...
The President, Vice President, Candidate Hung, and KMT Chairman Eric Chu displayed some remarkable solidarity this week in showing up at the opening of a club for Taiwan businessmen (Taishang) in China. Wang was a no-show. Solidarity translated a piece showing how important the Taishang are for the KMT and how they are not donating to Hung, instead sending their money directly to legislative candidates:
Given the KMT’s poor prospects this year, however, Taishang election enthusiasm has waned, and donation patterns have changed. In past elections, at least 70% of Taishang political donations went to presidential candidates, with the rest trickling to legislative candidates. But this year many consider the presidential race a lost cause and have decided not to throw good money after bad, instead directing their funding to legislative races.I pointed out a couple of months ago that the election followed soon after by New Year will force the Taiwanese in China to make difficult choices:
During their discussions about mobilization, some Taishang have recommended that taking reference from their nine-in-one election strategy, Taishang associations should assign the responsibility for certain districts to specified associations and leaders, rather than donating money to the KMT and letting the party distribute it. This will further deprive the KMT presidential campaign of funds.
Still worse for the Hung campaign has been the constant rumors the KMT will change its presidential candidate. On top of that, Taishang have been in a holding pattern as they’ve waited for Beijing to tell them what to do with respect to this election, and by telling Taishang to support whom they please Beijing has communicated that it will not offer aid to the Hung campaign via the Taishang.
As for the Taishang, the businessmen in China, some 200,000 would like to come home to vote, according to an association head. Yet, the Taishang are a typical expat population in many ways, spending their time in the new country, educating their kids there, and generally cutting ties with home. As time passes, these propensities grow. As Hung's prospects sink, the Taishang who are supposed to be super-KMT may well rethink spending the time, money, and hassle to come home to vote. Recall that the election is scheduled for Jan 16th, but the Lunar New Year is Feb 8. This means that many businessmen will face the unpalatable choice of coming home and then flying back immediately to be with their businesses during the critical lead up to New Year, then returning a couple of weeks later to do New Year, or staying away from the business for almost a month. And all that to vote for a candidate who likely isn't going to win.TT appended today:
Yet, they might come, to help save the legislature. As I've noted several times, Hung isn't going to help the KMT anywhere outside of the north. She could cost them the legislature.
In related news, Chinese Cross-Strait Taiwan Businesses Suggestion and Research president Chang Han-wen (張漢文) said that while projections of the number of Taiwanese businesspeople who plan to return home from China for the Jan. 16 elections are small, “it could improve to about 300,000 if the plane ticket problem is solved.”Good news: the number wanting to return home to vote is "small". Money they will send, but they won't come themselves to vote. Good news...
“The Lunar New Year is 24 days after January 16. Since many people might find it difficult to purchase [two tickets in such a short period of time], we are now negotiating with airline companies [to offer discounts],” he said.
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