A s an atmosphere of shock and disappointment settled in at the KMT's campaign headquarters last night, Lien Chan (
Lien said he "felt sorry" for his supporters, because the embarrassing loss had disappointed those who had high expectations of him.
"After the defeat, I should deeply reflect [on] and self-examine [the causes]. It was my less-than-sufficient endeavors that led to the setback," the incumbent vice president said.
PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES
Also shouldering blame for the KMT rout was KMT Secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (
On behalf of the party headquarters, Huang said he respected the Taiwanese people's decision and attributed the loss to a split KMT, adding that the party will speed up its pace of reform to win back the people's hearts.
During Lien's brief remarks, he offered conciliatory words to his erstwhile DPP rivals. "I would like to congratulate Chen Shui-bian (
He also spelled out his expectations for Chen as the country's new leader. "Faced with the current intricate situation, I hope that you will lead Taiwan into a new phase with open-mindedness and a new way of thinking," he said.
Lien said he respected the result of the election as the expression of the will of the people, adding that the smooth election process marked another watershed in Taiwan's democratization.
Lien also used the opportunity to try and lift the decidedly low morale of KMT members. The KMT vice chairman said his party has had a glorious tradition and has made concrete achievements as the ruling party in Taiwan, urging his party comrades to not lose heart after their defeat.
"We should restart again immediately, so that we'll regain support and approval from the people in Taiwan," he said.
After Lien himself acknowledged failure, chairman of the campaign committee Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) -- also the speaker of the Legislative Yuan -- said that it was still too early to make an accurate analysis of the failure. However, he said that according to their preliminary assessments, "there appeared unexpected variables in final days, especially the 'Shi Wen-lung (
Lee, president of Academia Sinica, and Hsu, president of Chi Mei and a close friend of President Lee Teng-hui (
"On the other hand, rumors of a `dump Lien and save Soong' effect, as well as `dump Lien and save Chen,' had been widely spread," Wang said.
Jason Hu (胡志強), Lien's campaign manager, also said that "it is not to be denied that there was a large gap between the real outcome and [our] expectation."
Hu insisted that according to a number of polls and research conducted by the KMT's camp, Lien has had the highest popularity rating among the candidates since March 8.
"However, according to the law, publication of poll results are banned during the ten days leading up to election day. Therefore, the message was not received by the public. Instead, people kept the old image that Lien was behind other candidates and this wrong message made them dump Lien," Hu said.
Hu denied the party organization has poor coordination.
Both Wang and Hu claimed responsibility for the party's landslide defeat, saying that Lien was himself an outstanding candidate and leader and that they, as campaign chiefs, failed to get him elected by the voters. Hu, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that he would withdraw from politics for a while.
When asked if the results indicated that the KMT's organizational mobilization system -- the party's most powerful weapon in elections -- had broken down, Wang did not directly answer the question.
"The scale of our organizational mobilization was unprecedented this time, and we made a huge effort," Wang said.
He added that the lack of success in yesterday's presidential election -- despite the KMT's organizational mobilization -- was reminiscent of the KMT's defeat in Taipei mayoral election in 1994, which Chen Shui-bian also won.
A convenience store clerk in Taoyuan was yesterday allegedly stabbed to death by a customer after asking the customer to wear a mask. The incident occurred a little after 5am at a store on Guangfong Street in Gueishan District (龜山), police said. When the suspect, surnamed Chiang (蔣), 41, entered the store without wearing a mask, the 30-year-old clerk, surnamed Tsai (蔡), asked that he put one on, police said. Chiang exited the store and came back wearing a mask, they said, adding that after paying for his items he took it off and threw it at Tsai before leaving. Chiang returned shortly afterward
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