Wed, Jun 02, 2004 - Page 1 News List

KMT youth urge Lien to spare them any favors

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) is too much of an embarrassment for many younger members of his party, who say they would rather not be associated with the three-time election loser.

"How can you embark on a `thanksgiving and unity tour' when you don't work to unite party headquarters first?" said Chiu Teh-hung (邱德宏), organizer of a group of young party members calling itself the "Blue Eagle Warriors" (藍鷹戰將).

KMT spokesman Alex Tsai (蔡正元) announced on Monday that Lien, 68, was planning a tour of central and southern Taiwan this month to thank supporters and drum up support for KMT candidates in the year-end legislative elections.

party integration

Saying he is not against Lien soliciting support from the grassroots, Chiu said the priority should be integrating views within the party, noting discrepancies over the party's political stance and Lien's recent proposal to merge the KMT with the People First Party (PFP).

"The party authorities should first work to integrate their own views and establish a common base on the party's direction before touring towns and asking the grassroots to unite behind the party," Chiu said.

Chiu is a member of the "Chunghsing [rejuvenation] Elite Group" (中興菁英班), which was established two years ago to broaden the party's appeal among young people.

The group has been urging the party since the March 20 presidential election to step up internal reforms.

Niu Tso-hsun (鈕則勳), a member of another group of young KMT members called the "567 alliance," said Lien's tour "should be one that focuses on listening to what local supporters really think and want."

"Reform should be the thrust of Lien's tour," Niu said, adding that he hopes the tour can help the party form a democratic system internally and gather opinions from the bottom up.

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Lo Chin-ming (羅志明), a former KMT Kaohsiung City councilor who joined the TSU in 2001, said Lien might have over-estimated his "vote-pulling power" in central and southern Taiwan.

"Lien might not have realized that his moves these past couple of months have turned off many of the so-called light-blues among his supporters in central and southern Taiwan and led to a significant drop in his support rate in these areas," Lo said.

"Some KMT members seeking seats in central and southern Taiwan are actually secretly hoping that Lien will not stump for them," Lo said. "They view Lien as possible poison to their electoral outlook."

more harm than good

Chiu said some KMT members are finding their party affiliation a liability.

"There are people who want to be nominated by the party for December's legislative election, but they refrain from mentioning the KMT when they interact with locals for their support," said Chiu, who is also chief of staff for the vice speaker of the Miaoli County Council.

Chiu said that, due to the party leadership's preoccupation with the presidential election at the expense of reforms and the upcoming legislative elections, KMT members are skirting party headquarters and working on their own to win local support as they prepare for December.

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