Monday, March 28, 2016

With Party Chair Election, KMT Takes One Step Forward, Two Steps Backwards

Hung’s election is the worst possible outcome for Taiwan, as it puts the KMT’s formidable assets at the disposal of politicians who should have bowed out a long time ago 

As expected, Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) was elected chairperson of the struggling Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) by a comfortable margin on Saturday night, ending more than 100 years of male dominance at the helm of a party that suffered a major setback in the presidential and legislative elections in January. While the rise of a female politician within the KMT is in step with prevailing attitudes in Taiwan today (she also ran against Wu Poh-hsiung in 2007), Hung’s ascension represents a shift toward a more conservative stance at the party at a time when social forces are calling for rejuvenation. We take a quick look at the implications for the KMT and the nation’s politics. 

Although polls had long indicated that she was likely to prevail against her three opponents (including another woman), Hung’s victory on Saturday was an impressive comeback by a politician who, back in October last year, had been ignominiously dropped as the KMT’s presidential candidate. In the months prior to her demise, Hung’s out-of-step policies and pro-Beijing stance had fueled widespread discontent within the KMT, leading to expulsions and walkouts by party stalwarts and the threat of collapse months before the Jan. 16 elections. 

My article, published today in Thinking Taiwan, continues here.

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