Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) — who is known as a politician capable of saving the party from disaster — is once again being called upon to serve as the KMT’s knight in shining armor.
Chu was selected as the KMT’s presidential candidate at an extempore KMT congress on Saturday, replacing Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), whose candidacy was revoked earlier in the day by the congress.
Chu has enjoyed a smooth political career, and prior to Saturday he has on two separate occasions helped the party out in a big way; but whether his stepping up to the plate a third time will be enough to prop up the slowly sinking behemoth that is the KMT is another matter.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
The first instance was in September 2009 when President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration tapped Chu as vice premier after then-premier Liu Chao-hsuan (劉兆玄) and his Cabinet resigned to take responsibility for the government’s response to Typhoon Morakot. Chu was then just three months into his second term as Taoyuan County commissioner.
The second instance was when Chu — less than a year into his tenure as the vice premier — was air-dropped by the party into then-Taipei County prior to the 2010 mayoral election, when the county was later that year slated to be upgraded into the special municipality of New Taipei City.
The KMT at the time pinned its hopes on Chu after various opinion polls showed then-Taipei County commissioner Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) of the KMT would likely lose a bid for re-election.
This time around, Chu, less than 10 months into his second term as New Taipei City mayor, has again had to switch track, this time to become the party’s presidential candidate.
In other words, he has been forced to go back on his word, having pledged that he would see out his full term as mayor. Chu’s presidential bid means Chu is to face Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for the second time in an election; the first was in 2010 when the two ran for the New Taipei City mayorship.
Chu’s greatest problem now is not how to rally the flagging spirits of the KMT, but rather how to convince the public that going back on his word is not indicative of his lack of political integrity.
After all, if Chu announces his resignation as New Taipei City mayor, the KMT would probably lose the only special municipality it controls — there is no reasonable way Chu could run for president while retaining the mayorship.
Although former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) of the DPP ran for vice president while still the Taoyuan County commissioner, the KMT would have a tough time selling the public on this one, as presidency and vice presidency entail very different levels of responsibility.
In addition, if Chu were to hang on as the mayor, it would be a silent admission that the KMT fear the consequence of him losing — the DPP would then control the presidency and all six special municipalities.
To make headway with KMT supporters under such circumstances, Chu must first convince Hung’s supporters to back him and explain why the party replaced her as its candidate.
At the same time, he must embrace an “all or nothing” attitude, making clear to the public what responsibilities he would shoulder if the election results fall short of the KMT’s expectations. Only by doing so will be able to fully convince KMT supporters that he can turn the situation around.
However, with such short time to prepare for the Jan. 16 elections, and faced with an astute DPP presidential candidate, all Chu can do is rally the morale of the KMT and hope that his last-minute preparations are going to be enough.
Translated by staff writer Jake Chung
‘HONEYMOON’ IS OVER: A political science professor said that the Tsai administration’s popularity peaked after it successfully contained COVID-19, but is waning President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) approval ratings fell significantly this month in the wake of the government’s handling of the distribution of relief funds and stimulus coupons to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll released yesterday by the New Power Party (NPP) showed. The poll showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, down 8.9 percentage points from last month, while 21 percent said they disapproved of her performance. Her approval among respondents aged 20 to 29 fell 14.7 percentage points, the largest decrease when compared with other age
Food delivery provider Foodpanda had 564 consumer disputes from January to last month and failed to attend many mediation sessions with local governments nationwide, the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee said. In a news release earlier this month, the committee said that it investigated consumer complaints and mediations for Foodpanda and rival Uber Eats during the period, when the number of delivery orders jumped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Uber Eats had 80 consumer disputes, the committee said. Of Foodpanda’s consumer disputes, 368 resulted from delivery drivers canceling orders after customers could not be reached, 108 were related to the quality or quantity
Peggy Chen (陳佩琪), wife of Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), yesterday said that the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) claim that Taiwan had warned the WHO about possible human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 was “far-fetched.” The US on April 9 said that the WHO had put politics first and ignored Taiwan’s early warning in December last year, which the WHO denied the following day. The WHO said that it received an e-mail from Taiwanese authorities on Dec. 31 last year, but that “there was no mention in the message of human-to-human transmission.” Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC,
The Taipei City Government yesterday promised to improve its Taipei Card 3.0 application process after a city councilor said that it required applicants to provide irrelevant personal information. Taipei City Councilor Miao Po-ya (苗博雅) said that to activate the card — which can function as an EasyCard, Senior EasyCard, student card and library card, as well as provide discounts for restaurants, arts and entertainment in the city — people must provide personal information such as their passport number, occupation, education level, their spouse’s name, personal income, credit rating and health information. The city government said the system would help it digitalize and