Wu’s speech was received by loud applause from party delegates, and both Ma and Wang greeted him as he stepped down from the podium.
Wu later dismissed speculation that he was referring to the president in his speech, adding that maintaining party unity is a collective effort.
In an effort to create a sense of reconciliation, Ma, Wang and other party heavyweights, including Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and Premier Jiang Yih-huah (江宜樺), were seated side by side at the event.
At the congress’ concluding session, Ma expressed his gratitude to Wu Poh-hsiung for boosting party morale with his speech and promised to consolidate the KMT.
“The KMT must push forward with its internal reform drive and only by standing united can we continue to be in power,” Ma said.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said Ma’s remarks at the conference, about how he “has heard the people’s voice” were insufficient because what he needs to do is take action to solve the public’s grievances.
“Saying: ‘I’ve heard you’ and ‘I understand what you are saying’ is not good enough,” DPP spokesperson Wang Ming-shen (王閔生) said.
“The administration needs to face the issues at hand, such as the sluggish economy, rising commodity prices, the deteriorating human rights situation and the food safety crisis with honesty and present solutions to these problems,” he added.
Changing the time and location of the KMT congress and deploying thousands of police officers are not going to ease public discontent, the DPP spokesperson said.
Additional reporting by Chris Wang