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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times KMT ouster only way to carry out reform

KMT ouster only way to carry out reform

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The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is likely to experience a full collapse in the presidential and legislative elections next month. After KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) replaced Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) as the party’s presidential candidate, the KMT has moved away from the Huang Fu Hsing (黃復興) military veterans’ chapter toward the local political factions that it previously despised. However, the effort is probably in vain, because Taiwanese are thirsting for change.

With change expected, Chu and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) — who heads the KMT’s campaign support group — are shouting slogans calling for “reform.” However, reform requires more than just slogans. If they really want reform, would they not have achieved their goal if the party collapses completely? No one wants a party-state anymore.

Chu and Wang are saying one thing and doing another, following the example of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九). Was the KMT not restored to power under the leadership of Ma in 2008 thanks to his calls for reform? At the time, the party had been locked out of the halls of power for eight years and many voters who were lured by the democratic logic of another transfer of power did not understand that the KMT was not a normal party.

When Ma first made his “6-3-3” campaign pledge (annual GDP growth of 6 percent, an unemployment rate of less than 3 percent and per capita income of US$30,000, he emulated then-South Korean president Lee Myung-bak’s promise and said he would give up half his salary if he failed to meet these targets. However, did he part with any of his salary when his “6-3-3” deteriorated into “1-4-2”? Instead, his savings have exceeded his salary every year during his time in office. He is not extravagant in eating and drinking, and is particularly good at keeping his own wealth. No wonder some say that he only cares about himself.

Why has the KMT forgotten the logic of power transfers that it promoted so vigorously in 2008? That year, the party made every effort to gain “absolute power” by winning both the presidency and a legislative majority, claiming that it was ready to rule. How about now?

On Dec. 5, former vice president Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) said that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) should be prevented from winning absolute power because democracy must not be monopolized by a single party. Statements like that contradict the KMT’s own logic. Why not let the DPP get a taste of absolute power to see how it performs compared with the KMT’s efforts under the same circumstances?

As Chu and Wang call for reform, the slogan has once again become the KMT’s pet phrase. However, Chu’s choice of Jennifer Wang (王如玄) as his running mate shows that the party’s closet is full of skeletons of every kind. Say one thing and do another — this is what it thinks power is all about. The KMT has manipulated the law and acted unethically while claiming to be above board.

The public has given the KMT a chance over the past eight years and it will be hard to win its trust again, no matter how much Chu and Wang call for reform. If they want to reform Ma’s rule, they can do it inside the party. They must be brainless if they think they can remain in power by using that old slogan.

If DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) wins and the party and other forces for reform obtain a legislative majority, the DPP should try to impress the public over the next four years.

If the KMT wants to ask voters to return it to power, it would be better off doing so in 2020 — and only if it shows it has reformed by then.

The only way to achieve reform this time around is for the KMT to step down.

Lee Min-yung is a poet.

Translated by Eddy Chang

Source: Taipei Times - 2015/12/19

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