Victorious Hung Hsiu-chu vows to work for KMT's rebirth
Taipei, March 26 (CNA) Former Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) vowed to do her best to help the beleaguered Kuomintang rise again after winning the party's by-election for chairperson on Saturday.
Hung garnered 78,829 votes, or 56.16 percent of the votes cast in the four-way race, to become the first female chairperson in the party's history.
The by-election was held after Eric Chu (朱立倫) resigned from the post to assume responsibility for the party's crushing defeat in the presidential and legislative elections in January.
Hung will serve as KMT leader until July 2017, when a new leader is elected.
Her closest rival, acting KMT Chairwoman Huang Min-hui (黃敏惠), received 46,341 votes, or 33.02 percent of the total.
Hung expressed appreciation that many party members went to the polls at this most difficult time for the KMT, which suffered major setbacks in local elections in November 2014 and the presidential and legislative elections on Jan. 16, 2016.
The party now controls only one of Taiwan's six major municipalities, down from four prior to the 2014 vote, and lost the presidency and its majority in the Legislature in 2016.
"We found that the hearts of party members have stayed together. With one heart, we can unite and the party will have a tomorrow and hope," she said.
She also thanked them for choosing to endorse her and give her the opportunity to "stoop to pick up the first brick to rebuild the homeland in ruins."
She said all kinds of challenges and setbacks will lie ahead, but she pledged to deliver on her promise to do her best to work for the rebirth of the party.
Hung, who is seen as representing the wing of the KMT that favors moving toward unification with China, said soon after winning the by-election that she had no plan to visit China but noted that the present communications platform between the KMT and the Communist Party of China would continue.
Hung defeated Huang in most of Taiwan's 22 cities and counties, losing only in Chiayi City, where Huang served as mayor from 2005 to 2014, in the central and southern counties of Yunlin, Chiayi, Changhua and Nantou, and in the southeastern county of Taitung.
Of greater concern to Hung and the party was the poor turnout of only 41.61 percent, well below the 56.34 percent turnout in 2015 when New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu ran for the position unopposed and the lowest since the KMT began directly electing its leaders in 2001.
The previous low was 53.75 percent in 2007 when Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) resoundingly defeated Hung Hsiu-chu in a by-election.
The other two candidates in Saturday's race were Taipei City Councilor Lee Hsin (李新), who received 7,604 votes (5.42 percent), and Legislator Chen Shei-saint (陳學聖), who collected 6,784 votes (4.83 percent).
The Democratic Progressive Party, which swept to power in the January elections, congratulated Hung after the victory and expressed the hope that they could work together in pursuing reforms.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping (習近平) , in his capacity as the Chinese Communist Party's general secretary, also congratulated Hung.
Xi expressed the hope that both sides could uphold the "1992 consensus"' and oppose Taiwan independence.
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