What course should the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) take following its second defeat in its attempt to claim the keys to the Presidential Office?
Such was the question lingering in the minds of many pan-blue politicians, many of whom have openly and vocally voiced their anxiety and concerns about the party's political ideology and leadership in the past few days.
"The declining approval ratings in the polls suggest that the weekly demonstrations are no longer approved of by our supporters," KMT Legislator Hsu Chung-hsiung (
Hsu was referring to the weekly demonstrations spearheaded by the KMT-People First Party (PFP) alliance since the presidential election on March 20.
President Chen Shui-bian (
Lien refused to concede defeat, and claiming voting irregularities -- although he has not been able to produce proof -- filed a lawsuit demanding a recount. Lien also raised questions about the assassination attempt on Chen and Vice President Annette Lu (
Lien claimed that it was an attempt to win sympathy votes, as well as charging that the implementation of a "national security mechanism" following the shooting prevented a large number of military personnel from voting.
Saturday's demonstration in front of the Presidential Office was the latest in a series of protests staged by the KMT-PFP alliance in its effort to challenge the election result.
The demonstration turned ugly and violent, spiraling out of control after some protesters refused to leave the site when the event's permit expired. Clashes and scuffles broke out between riot police and the angry demonstrators in which 127 people were injured, including 86 police officers, 27 protesters and 14 reporters, according to a report by the Taipei City Police Bureau's Chungcheng First Precinct Chief We Su-lu (吳思陸).
A number of KMT legislators have questioned the wisdom of holding further street demonstrations to increase the pressure on Chen.
"The [violent clashes] have done a lot of damage to the KMT," Hsu said. "The pain I feel is more than I can put into words. I truly hope that the KMT, having existed for more than a century, will not be vaporized in such a short time."
Saying that the KMT can not afford to lose another presidential election, Hsu, a committee member known for his "pro-localization" stance, said that the party should now start considering issues such as a possible merger with the PFP, nominations for the year-end legislative elections and introspection as to why the party lost its presidential bid on March 20.
Voices urging the party to engage post-election reflection have surfaced since Wednesday's weekly Central Standing Committee meeting.
Hung Yu-chin (
Hung's remarks was echoed by KMT Legislator Chen Ken-teh (