Taipei, Jan. 16 (CNA) Eric Chu (朱立倫), the presidential candidate of the ruling Kuomintang, conceded defeat in Saturday's election, saying that the party has lost the presidential and legislative elections, which is "an unprecedented big change" for the party.
As Chu lagged behind his main rival, Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party by a big margin, he conceded defeat at the party's headquarters at 7 p.m.
A solemn Chu bowed to supporters and apologized to them for letting them down, as well as the Republic of China.
He also announced his resignation as KMT chairman with immediate effect, but later was urged by Tai Po-te (戴伯特), director of the Huangfushing (黃復興) military veterans branch, to stay on.
He congratulated Tsai on winning the presidency, which he said is the choice of the Taiwanese people and a mandate of Taiwan's people for Tsai and the DPP.
Chu said that the party must learn from "the most serious setback in this election."
"In addition to deep reflection, we also have to listen to the message revealed through the votes, and we'll have to play well the role as a monitoring opposition party," he said.
He said that the party needs to think deeply about why, after being in power for eight years, it has become an opposition party again.
"If we do not reflect in the right direction and in insufficient depth, then we will have no qualification to rise again in four years," Chu said.
He said he knows the supporters are "sad, and their "feelings are badly hurt," but this is not a time to "procrastinate and be pessimistic. It is time to begin to think what to do and where to go." He said he wants to know why the public has undergone monolithic changes over the past few years, and why the gulf between the KMT and the people has become so wide.
"There are big problems in the party's policies, its way of recruiting talent, its communication with society, and its attitude," he said.
Chu said that the party's loss of its ruling power and its majority in the Legislature is an "unprecedented big change" for the party.
In fact, the party's drubbing in the November 2014 local elections underscored the big risks.
He pledged to start to build a solid foundation at the grassroots level and to begin nurturing talents, young people, and future leaders from the grassroots to prepare them for entering the Legislature.
This, he said, is the only way the party can rise from the ashes.
(By Hsieh Chia-chen and Lilian Wu; click here for the full coverage of the elections.)ENDITEM/J