Fri, Apr 01, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Past spokesperson urges Hung to take the middle ground

CONSOLIDATION:Only 23% of eligible KMT party voters supported Hung in her election as chairperson, indicating weak party unity

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party KMT chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) should move to the middle ground if she intends to consolidate her leadership, her former campaign spokesperson said yesterday

While Hung has gained momentum in the KMT in the past few months, turning her from an abandoned presidential candidate to a “flying hen,” the crises looming over her and the party are far from being defused, Grassroots Alliance founder Hsu Chiao-hsin (徐巧芯) said in an op-ed published by the Hong Kong-based online media outlet On.cc

Hsu, who served as Hung’s campaign spokesperson before Hung was replaced by New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) as the KMT’s presidential candidate in October last year, said that the most important challenge that lies ahead for Hung is whether she would be able to keep her critics in the KMT at bay while gradually elevating her reputation in the party.

The KMT leadership had ousted Hung from the presidential race on the grounds that her cross-strait policy, which is perceived to be leaning toward rapid unification with China, ran counter to mainstream public opinion.

“Just when Hung declared victory in the chairperson by-election on Saturday, many KMT legislators said on condition of anonymity that they have no expectations for Hung,” said Hsu, who joined several younger KMT members in founding the alliance after the party’s defeats in the Jan. 16 presidential and legislative elections to push for party reform.

Former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said that “there are many voices of discontent toward Hung inside the KMT.”

Despite winning 56 percent of the votes in the KMT election, Hsu said Hung’s lack of public support can be evidenced by statistics from the race, which showed a record-low turnout rate of 41.61 percent.

“It could be interpreted that most KMT members found none of the chairperson candidates satisfactory and refused to vote... Some of them might have a more moderate stance on most issues,” Hsu said.

That only 23 percent of all eligible voters went out to support Hung indicates that the biggest conundrum awaiting the KMT’s new chairwoman is achieving party unity, Hsu said.

Hung’s support rating in the party could plummet if she is reluctant to communicate with her opponents and make compromises, Hsu added.

Urging Hung to solicit support from KMT members who abstained from voting by taking the middle ground, Hsu said.

Hung would not be able to consolidate her leadership unless she engages with KMT party members with different opinions, Hsu added.

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