Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (
"In almost any democratic country, the leader of a party that has suffered a defeat in major elections would consider giving up his job as a gesture of taking responsibility for the losses," said Chiu Hei-yuan (
"Not to mention one who had failed his party twice in bidding for the nation's highest job," Chiu said.
President Chen Shui-bian (
This time around Lien joined forces with Soong on a single ticket representing the KMT-PFP alliance.
Lien lost Saturday's presidential race to Chen's re-election bid by less than 30,000 votes.
Prior to the election, many political pundits said that Lien's position as party leader would be at stake if he were to lose the election again.
But at Wednesday's meeting of the KMT's Central Standing Committee, ranking members of the party's highest decision-making body expressed their support for Lien's continued leadership.
KMT Vice Chairman Wang Jin-pyng (
Pan-blue supporters have also expressed continued support for Lien, but the response was different from that of four years ago.
In the wake of the KMT's humiliating election defeat in 2000, angry demonstrators besieged the party's headquarters, demanding that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) immediately step down as party chairman.
"Four years ago Lee served as the target for unhappy pan-blue supporters," said Chin Heng-wei (
This time there is no Lee to act as lightning conductor. By denouncing Saturday's election as unfair, Lien deflected pan-blue supporters' discontentment from him to the government.
The pan-blue alliance had originally planned to disband the crowd of supporters outside its campaign headquarters following Lien's speech on Saturday night in which he refused to concede defeat in the election, which he claimed had been unfair.
The alliance changed its plan at the last minute, and both Lien and Soong joined the crowd to stage a sit-in protest against the election result. Before dawn on Sunday morning Lien and Soong led the crowd of pan-blue supporters to protest in front of the Presidential Office, demanding an immediate recount.
The demonstration has been going on for the past four days at Katagalan Boulevard with no sign of ending any time soon.
Chin said the party should now be engaging in introspection to find the reasons why its candidate lost the election, as well as re-examining its political line.
Other issues facing the party in the wake of election include the possibility of reshuffling its leadership, a merger between the KMT and the PFP, and the year-end legislative election.
At Wednesday's Central Standing Committee meeting, Lien said that he would accept all responsibility after the dispute over the election has been resolved.
By mobilizing the crowd to protest about the the election result, Lien is able, for the moment, to evade thorny questions and to buy himself respite from having to deal with mounting pressure from his party demanding his immediate resignation, Chin said.
"It is only matter of time before he will have to assume responsibility and face up to the pressure coming from within," he added.
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