In last Saturday’s four legislative by-elections, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) suffered another humiliating defeat. The party barely managed to maintain control of Hualien County, while suffering big losses in Taoyuan and Hsinchu counties, two traditional pan-blue strongholds. It also lost in Chiayi County, a traditional pan-green stronghold.
The administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has now lost four consecutive elections and there is no sign that this will stop.
These four losses not only show that the KMT candidates failed to gain the support of voters, but they also imply that most people reject the government’s policies and administrative capabilities.
If Ma, who doubles as KMT chairman, fails to mend his ways, the KMT will not only lose the five year-end special municipality elections, it will also lose the 2012 presidential election.
Ma neglected his presidential duties to put all his efforts into stumping for candidates.
He brought back his ally King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), who had helped engineer his presidential campaign, making him KMT secretary-general to boost the party’s chances of electoral victory.
Ma and King acted as if they were invincible, but the KMT lost two consecutive rounds of elections and has been unable to stop the damage.
Has the Ma myth finally been debunked? The last time the KMT lost, senior party members were unwilling to take responsibility or apologize to the public.
Instead, they blamed the lower voter turnout on the slow progress in the investigation into former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) corruption case.
The Ma administration then forced Chen Tsung-ming (陳聰明) to resign as prosecutor-general and manipulated the judiciary into reinvestigating a so-called second financial reform scandal.
Disregarding social justice, the administration also put aside plans to reinstate income taxes for military personnel and teachers.
The aim was to avoid alienating this bloc of die-hard pan-blue voters. So why did the KMT still lose miserably in three of the four by-elections on Saturday?
It is obvious that Chen Tsung-ming was a scapegoat. Of course he should have resigned if he had really broken the law, but blaming the KMT’s election losses on him does not help the party’s efforts to bounce back. The party lost because of Ma’s poor governance and misguided policies, as the election results bear out. The KMT is shirking responsibility by refusing to reflect on the real cause of its defeat.
The government’s failure to reflect and examine its actions is characteristic of Ma. Any “self-reflection” that Ma does is for show only and fails to deal with a real change in policy and principles.
When the government is accused of being ineffective, Ma blames everything on poor publicity and lack of communication, and rejects any policy changes. When faced with electoral defeat, Ma did not think about where he went wrong, but instead tried to find a scapegoat and brought in an expert at manipulating polls. He then used his position and prestige to run around Taiwan stumping for votes, thinking that the KMT would be able to win elections so long as he shook a few more hands.
All this has accomplished nothing, but Ma is still happy with his leadership style. When Ma became president, he had to step up to the plate to be tested by the public, only to be found wanting.
The public has seen his inability and some in the blue camp even say with regret that Ma’s election was a disaster for Taiwan.
This disaster is caused by Ma’s pro-China policies with the ultimate goal of achieving unification.
Ma’s policies have opened Taiwan wide to China, and over the past few decades facilitated the handover of Taiwan’s accomplishments to China. Since coming into office, the government has failed to come up with solutions to revive the economy and safeguard the nation’s sovereignty and dignity.
The administration has pinned all its hopes on China, as if it were a panacea for Taiwan’s problems. Plans for boosting domestic demand have involved opening Taiwan up to Chinese tourists and allowing Chinese investment in Taiwan.
Ma promised the creation of business opportunities worth tens and even hundreds of billions of New Taiwan dollars, but all he has done is make it more convenient for Chinese companies to take over local businesses and gain control over Taiwan. As far as increasing industrial competitiveness goes, all Ma has done is encourage local businesses to move to China.
He has shown no qualms in pushing businesses that were the product of the blood, sweat and tears of Taiwanese taxpayers toward China. The loosening of restrictions on panel makers and wafer fabs shows that the government is intent on destroying Taiwan.
The upcoming economic cooperation and framework agreement (ECFA) talks are the government’s biggest conspiracy and it will bury Taiwan. As soon as an ECFA is signed, local industries will be unable to compete with the dumping of low-priced goods from China. Businesses thirsting for cheap Chinese labor will scramble to get to China.
This will leave the manufacturing industry on the brink of extinction and unemployment will shoot up. In the end, Taiwan will become like a patient in a coma, helpless, unable to do anything but wait to be put out of its misery.
But while the public may feel helpless, people will not just sit by and wait for the worst. That is why, while the past few elections have only been small, local elections, voters have treated them as a national referendum and used them to express their disapproval and disappointment with Ma and his team.
The pro-China Ma administration is on the brink of collapse. We urge KMT members who have more common sense to face the facts, make the right choices and stand on the side of the majority of people for the sake of their future and the future of the nation.
TRANSLATED BY DREW CAMERON
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