Sat, Nov 03, 2007 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: KMT confusion? It's election time

Being lectured by a two-time presidential election loser is hardly an intimidating prospect, unless that person holds an honorary title in the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and his audience is the KMT faithful.

Former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) on Thursday offered pithy words of advice to his party colleagues when he said: "The KMT must not sacrifice its ideals for the sake of electoral victory."

He should know.

Lien made the remarks after learning that the party's highest decision-making body, the Central Standing Committee, on Wednesday agreed to delete the Guidelines for National Unification and the fictional "1992 consensus" from the party's mission statement for next year.

It would have been most creditable if the KMT had let go of its fantasy of unification and followed mainstream opinion backing Taiwan as a sovereign entity.

However, just as it seemed the party was really doing this -- in the hours after the United Daily News story hit the stands -- the KMT flatly denied that it had changed its cross-strait policy.

Instead, KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) restated a vow to stick with the "1992 consensus," an enduring term coined by KMT Legislator Su Chi (蘇起) that misrepresented the outcome of Taiwan-China talks that year.

Ma said that the KMT's annual mission statement was less important than the party charter and guidelines, both of which enshrine the goal of unification with China.

KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) was also quoted as saying in response to this confusion that: "Not being written [in the mission statement] does not amount to being scrapped."

As Ma pointed out, this fuss is over an annual mission statement.

Just because the terms were taken out of the statement does not mean that they cannot be reinstated, nor does it mean that they do not inform KMT policy and strategy.

Wu then made some intriguing remarks to a group of veterans on Wednesday as he called on deep-blue supporters to show understanding for Ma: "Some things that [Ma] said may not be in sync with our highest standards ... but so long as he is elected, all the things that worry you will disappear."

If all this is indeed an election ploy aimed at pan-green votes, then the KMT might do well to heed Lien's words.

On Thursday Lien went on to say that the KMT would be wrong to think that scrapping these elements from its mission statement would allow it to claw more votes away from the pan-green camp.

Lien may have lost two presidential campaigns, but he might have finally come to know a thing or two about voters.

Besides, if Taiwanese are so easily fooled, Lien would have sealed a 2004 election victory after prostrating himself and kissing the ground to demonstrate his love for the nation in front of the Presidential Office.

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