Sat, Mar 11, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Hung gives mixed review on Ma’s term as president

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) yesterday gave a mixed review on former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) eight-year presidency, describing him as an upright man whose “modesty and gentle demeanor” cost him dearly.

In an interview with UFO Radio program host Tang Hsiang-lung (唐湘龍), Hung was asked to evaluate Ma’s performance as president from 2008 to last year.

“Ma made achievements and mistakes, but no one is a saint, nor they are perfect. The former president had stellar achievements in cross-strait relations and foreign affairs, but the public is divided on how well he fared in domestic issues,” Hung said.

Hung, who is serving the remainder of Ma’s term as KMT leader, said that the former president had done things that eventually caused him to lose popularity.

Despite lauding Ma as an “upright gentleman,” Hung said that he is “so modest, gentle and courteous that he gave away his empire,” adding that he also attempted the impossible by trying to take care of every aspect of politics in his policymaking.

Ma won re-election as KMT chairman on July 20, 2013, before stepping down on Dec. 3, 2014, to take political responsibility for the party’s drastic defeat in the nine-in-one local elections that year.

He was on Jan. 19, 2015, succeeded by New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), who resigned a year later after losing the presidential race to the Democratic Progressive Party’s Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). Hung was elected to fill the vacancy on March 26 last year.

The relationship between Hung and Ma appears to have gone sour after KMT Central Policy Committee director Alex Tsai (蔡正元), whose job entails him defending the party’s leader and policies, repeatedly challenged the former president on a wide range of issues.

Asked whether she has earned Ma’s support after taking over as KMT chairwoman, Hung said she does not particularly feel any support from Ma, nor hostility.

Hung also downplayed the KMT’s controversial decision to replace her with Chu as the party’s presidential candidate three months before last year’s election, which Ma, in a recent Washington forum, said was the primary reason the KMT lost the election.

“Let the past be the past. There was more than one factor that contributed to the electoral defeat... It is regrettable that I was not able to fight until the end, but there are no grudges on my part and we should not blame the defeat on this incident,” Hung said in response to media queries after the interview.

Turning to the KMT’s upcoming chairperson race on May 20, Hung said she has canceled two planned overseas trips to avoid possible misunderstanding that she was seeking to boost her re-election prospects through the visits.

One of them was a trip to the US later this month and the other was a visit to China to attend a ceremony commemorating Confucius (孔子), Hung said, adding that both trips would have been non-political.

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