Southern Taiwan is not a fortress that is impregnable to advances by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the pan-blue camp, a party official has said.
Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓), director of the KMT’s Organizational Development Committee, said southern Taiwan is traditionally seen as the stronghold of the pan-green camp led by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), but the KMT should not discount its chances there.
He said that based on the results of the Jan. 14 presidential and legislative elections, voters in many constituencies were still “willing to give the KMT a chance.”
“This shows that voters in southern Taiwan have not yet given up on the KMT,” Su said.
He said in many electoral districts, the number of votes won by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who was running for re-election, surpassed the votes received by the party’s legislative candidates. In a number of constituencies, the proportion of the legislative vote the KMT garnered was also higher than that of the DPP, he added.
Su himself performed fairly well in Greater Tainan’s fourth electoral district, losing to former Tainan mayor Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財) by a 6 percent margin.
Despite that, the KMT has a high mountain to climb, he said.
In the south, usually considered to encompass Yunlin, Chiayi and Pingtung counties as well as Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung, Ma lost by about 530,000 votes, or 13.3 percent, to his main rival DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). The DPP won 17 of 22 legislative seats in those areas, while the two pan-green parties — the DPP and the Taiwan Solidarity Union — topped the two pan-blue parties — the KMT and People First Party — by an 11.7 percent margin in the party vote.
Faced with the crucial “seven-in-one” elections in 2014, Su suggested several approaches the KMT had to follow to solidify its base in the region. The most important aspect, Su said, was for the party to nurture new talent, “especially talent from local areas.”
The party should also recruit individuals without regard to their family background and should include people from all walks of life. Su also suggested reinvigorating the party’s organization. Because of limited resources, the party cannot have too many officials and needs to rely on many volunteers, he said.
He said the KMT is arranging a series of training courses to have full-time party officials and volunteers share their experiences.