Sun, Oct 14, 2012 - Page 3 News List

KMT plans image ‘makeover’ for failing local chiefs

By Peng Hsien-chunand Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is mulling an “image makeover” for its local government heads to publicize their governing accomplishments in a bid to improve their public image in light of recent public opinion polls in which they have fared badly, party sources said.

Polls conducted by various media outlets in the past have often seen KMT local heads garner lackluster average ratings in surveys which seek to gauge levels of public satisfaction. In the latest survey conducted by The Journalist magazine and released on Thursday, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) local government heads were at the top of the list of best-performing local government heads while their KMT counterparts were ranked at the bottom.

KMT sources have said top party officials are worried about the results of these polls, which show KMT-run local governments as having unfavorable ratings and lagging behind DPP administrations. They are concerned that this may impart an overall negative impression among members of the public about the party’s image which could impact the party’s chances in the 2014 seven-in-one elections.

Except for the heads of the nation’s five special municipalities, votes for local heads, city and county councilors and township representatives are to take place in 2014.

The success or failure of the party in the polls would be crucial to the 2016 presidential election outcome, party sources have said.

Miaoli County Commissioner Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻) of the KMT has a favorable public rating and most other KMT local heads also boast average ratings, but the fact that the bottom five listed in the survey were also KMT members has become a burden on the party, said a party official who declined to be named.

To improve their falling ratings and to address the public impression of their poor governance, party sources have said the party is considering an “image makeover” for local government heads.

People in the pan-blue camp have said that KMT regional chiefs are comparatively more conservative, are not that media-savvy and are not adept at promoting themselves.

These leaders have done many good things in quiet and subdued ways that are unknown to the public, they said, and therefore the party should place more emphasis on their achievements to make known their strengths.

An unnamed party official cited Taipei City as an example, saying that the demolition of a house belonging to a family who refused to move amid an urban renewal project garnered much news coverage diverting attention from the city government’s worthy deeds.

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