The KMT needs to interpret the 20 percent drop in the number of votes in a systematic way. It shows that Ma’s support within the party has waned by a significant degree, suggesting that there ought to be a repositioning of Ma’s political leadership style, otherwise the president and party chairman will become a liability.
The party should view this as a serious warning in terms of its future dealings with rival political parties.
In recent presidential and vice presidential elections there has been less than 10 percent on average between the vote counts for the ruling and opposition parties. In the last election, there was only a six percent disparity between votes for Ma and former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). The KMT needs to take a thorough and systematic look at this.
To go with the drop in voting numbers for Ma in this month’s party chairmanship election, eligible voter turnout also dropped by 28 percent. However, he is complacent because he retained a high support rating of 91.85 percent. This support is dramatically different from the disapproval rate of 70 percent and approval rate of 18 percent that Ma consistently scores in public polls.
The KMT need to consider the implications of the election results and approval ratings alongside a 2.7 percentage point increase in invalid votes as a percentage of the total votes cast, a swell in the protest vote phenomenon, the gradual increase in the number of party members dissatisfied with the way the party chairman was elected and the rapid rise in disaffection with Ma. Where is the KMT to go from here?
From the perspective of an economist, policies can be seen as input variables and their effects as outputs. Between these inputs and outputs there are other variables — effects, efficiency, correlations, trends. If the variables we choose as inputs are flawed, the policy produced is unlikely to be favorable. The time and resources to amend the input variables and the policy direction will be wasted.
People like Ma, the premier and ministerial-level government officials who are responsible for controlling and devising the nation’s major policies cannot approach policymaking in the spurious manner that they have been doing.
Unless the KMT finds an answer to where it is going it will lose the reigns of power again.
Kuo Chen-hero is an assistant professor of economics at Soochow University.
Translated by Paul Cooper