Tue, Dec 02, 2014 - Page 3 News List

REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK: Reshuffle must address King-Ma axis

By Wang Yu-Chung 王寓中

The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) crushing defeat in Saturday’s nine-in-one elections and President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) reported decision to resign as chairman of the KMT — to take responsibility for the party’s worse-than-expected losses — has brought about a reshuffling of power within the party, but commentators have said that if the influence of Ma, and his close aide, National Security Council Secretary-General King Pu-tsung’s (金溥聰), is not removed, the reshuffle would result only in new figureheads for Ma and King.

Following the electoral defeat, a slew of resignations from party members have been tendered, including Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), KMT Secretary-General Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) and KMT Organization and Development Committee director Su Chun-pin (蘇俊賓), with Ma stepping down as party chairman considered very likely.

However, political observers pointed out that regardless of who heads the party, the most important thing is who continues to be in charge of the party’s personnel appointments.

Party members are fully aware that those currently in managerial positions in the KMT Culture and Communication Committee’s promotional division, the party-affiliated National Development and Research Institute’s media poll center, the party’s administrative management commission and the Central Investment Holding Co are all perceived as belonging to the Ma-King faction.

In other words, as long as the faction retains its hold on power and appointments within the party, anyone who becomes party chairman would only be a figurehead.

It has been speculated whether Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) plans to announce his bid for chairmanship, since — until yesterday morning when he announced his resignation as KMT vice chairman to take responsibility for the party’s trouncing in Saturday’s elections — he was the first party vice chairman in line to assume the post of acting party chairman should Ma resign his chairmanship.

After a very narrow victory over his rival on Saturday, many party members are of the opinion that New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) — who is also a KMT vice chairman — would likely want to distance himself from the fight for party chairman.

Aside from Wu Den-yih and Chu, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and Taoyuan County Commissioner John Wu (吳志揚) are also considered viable candidates for important positions in the party and relations among the four will be closely watched by the media.

Translated by Jake Chung, staff writer

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