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China Times: Reforms needed for decrepit KMT

2014/11/29 14:00:48

Whatever the outcome, there is no denying that Saturday's nine-in-one local government elections are a tough struggle for the Kuomintang.

Unless the KMT reforms itself boldly, the party will find itself in an even more precarious position in the 2016 presidential election.

The latest elections have exposed several serious problems with the KMT, the first of which is the loss of popularity of President Ma Ying-jeou.

Although Ma still has some staunch supporters in Taipei, he has not been able to play a helpful role in the KMT's lagging campaign in the capital city, due to his delicate relationship with candidate Sean Lien.

Outside of Taipei, Ma is seen as a liability for the KMT's candidates.

The second problem involves the rapid aging and decay of the KMT, as evidenced by its lack of morale and domination by bureaucratism.

The aging of the KMT did not cause severe side effects in 2012 because the problem was mostly shaded by Ma's popularity. But this also cost the KMT an opportunity to carry out reforms.

In addition, the absence of a top campaign strategist, like King Pu-tseng in past elections, has resulted in a lack of teamwork and inability by the KMT to set an agenda in the latest elections.

Another negative factor is related to cross-Taiwan Strait relations.

Over the past several years, Taipei has significantly improved its ties with Beijing thanks to Ma's "no unification, no independence, no use of force" approach and his adherence to the "1992 consensus" of "one China, two interpretations."

Such policies, however, have become inadequate after the Sunflower Movement in March against the cross-strait services trade agreement. Due to the absence of a novel and positive policy toward China, the KMT is becoming increasingly rigid and unable to touch people's hearts. (Editorial abstract -- Nov. 29, 2014)

(By Y.F. Low)