Since the presidential election, the pan-blue camp has split into three blocs. One consists of the People First Party (PFP), while the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has divided into two factions. A handful of people in the KMT, led by Chairman Lien Chan (連戰), have effectively announced their independence by calling themselves the true KMT leaders. They refuse to concede defeat in the presidential election and step down. The rest of the KMT, from the vice chairmen down, realize that the effort to overturn the election result is nothing but a farce. They know that if the KMT is to be a healthy opposition party, it must walk out from the shadow of defeat and readjust its direction.
A few days ago, the KMT's Strategy and Discourse Unit (國民黨策略論述小組) concluded that the KMT should step out of the party headquarters and into society. They also suggested that the KMT can learn from the Uri Party in South Korea and start anew. Compared to the attitude of the core leadership around Lien, which is still persisting with its lawsuits and recount, this suggestion appears more pragmatic and positive.
But what can the KMT's reform faction learn from South Korea's legislative elections? It seems they want to learn from the Uri Party, which won a landslide victory. Increasing its number of seats from 49 to 152 and replacing the Grand National Party (GNP) as the majority party, they now control parliament. There is nothing wrong with the KMT wanting to learn from the victorious Uri Party: it is only natural to want to learn the ways of a winner.
But learning from the Uri does not simply mean learning campaign slogans and strategies. Rather, it means learning the spirit of a political party. The reason for the Uri's big victory was not just because of President Roh Moo-hyun, any individual MP or the Uri's reformist spirit. More important were the opposition parties -- the old GNP and Millenium Democratic Party (MDP). Their attempts to enrich themselves, their use of their parliamentary majority to obstruct the Roh government and their attempt to impeach Roh angered the South Korean people. Their inability to understand public sentiment coupled with the mainstream wish for generational change resulted in 63 percent of the reactionary forces being replaced.
Rather than learning from the Uri Party, the KMT should engage in soul-searching based on the defeat of the GNP and the MDP. The rising, reformist Uri Party defeated the corrupt and rigid old parties because the South Korean people despise political struggles aimed at opposing for the sake of opposing. The KMT should be able to recognize itself in the miserable failure of the GNP and the MDP. The KMT only sees the Uri Party's victory, but fails to consider the reasons behind it. Also, it saw the defeat of the GNP and the MDP, but failed to engage in soul-searching. This is exactly where the KMT's blind spots are located.
The KMT is an old party controlled by a group of old people. They are obsessed with the past and have neither hope nor a future. To establish a new discourse similar to that of the Uri Party, KMT leaders must open both their eyes and their hearts. They must clearly see the needs and desires of the public and implement a generational change immediately. The KMT leadership must take political responsibility for its mistaken political strategies and election failures. The party must implement thorough reform and rebuild itself into a new party that dares to dream and build a new vision.