Liberty Times (LT): You said you have been disappointed with the leadership of the party since it primary. Could you elaborate on this?
Wang Jin-pyng (王金平): I have been disappointed since the oddity that was the party’s primary, and the oddness has continued with the legislator-at-large list.
LT: You are putting this very politely.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
Wang:Sometimes, a polite way of phrasing things is the most severe form of criticism.
LT: What do you think caused the KMT to lose a substantial amount of support following last year’s nine-in-one general elections?
Wang: You can reference the remarks made by [TV host] Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康). [Jaw said during his Nov. 13 show that the party had never seen a more selfish chairperson than Wu Den-yih (吳敦義).]
The party must be fair and trustworthy, only then can its members rely on it and trust its decisions.
The party is not at fault, but there are issues with the party’s inner workings. It would be a good step if a sincere attempt were made to adjust things and address public expectations.
LT: Does the leader need to be selfless?
Wang: I have mentioned this [the word “selfless”] many times.
He [Wu] is just that kind of person and making things complicated. This is also why we have this very odd election campaign. I believe this is also what Jaw meant.
“When the Great Way prevails, the world will belong to all. They chose people of talent and ability whose words were sincere, and they cultivate harmony. Thus, people did not love only their own parents, nor did they nurture just their own children.”
That is a passage excerpted from the Book of Rites (禮記) and often quoted by Wu — it lays out very clearly how one should govern, how a nation should comport itself and how its citizens should act.
One should be true to their word and their actions should benefit others. This is the principle that I have lived by since stepping into politics. I feel that it is also a principle that others could live by, for otherwise, they are only being selfish.
LT: It has been noted that, so far, you have yet to openly endorse any presidential candidate. Can you explain why?
Wang: I have not made clear my support simply because I have not made a choice. I will support anyone who holds the same ideology as I do.
LT: Would you agree to head, even if in name only, a group of KMT supporters or a consulting group [for Kaohsiung Mayor and KMT presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜)]?
Wang: No. It would be impossible for the party to ask that of me, so neither.
If Han asked me again, I would still decline. I have not exerted any influence over my supporters. I have allowed him to win over my supporters. That is the most support that I am willing to give him.
I have my own stance and ideals and Han should respect that.
LT: Is China’s influence over the presidential election especially powerful this time around? And is China leaning toward Han as its preferred candidate?
Wang: China’s preference for Han is a sure thing. The question is how China can go about influencing things without looking bad.
However, it will be difficult for China to play a pivotal role [in the elections]. Hong Kong is such a mess right now — it has created a realistic sense of fear. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will definitely play into people’s fears — that is its momentary advantage.
LT: What was your reason for giving up on a presidential bid, instead of garnering the needed signatures to pass the threshold, which you would have surely been able to achieve?
Wang: For the petition, I would have needed to register with the government, which means that I would have needed to immediately leave the KMT. What need was there to distance myself from the KMT so soon?
At the time, everyone said that [People First Party (PFP) Chairman] James Soong (宋楚瑜) was not going to run, and that he was throwing his support behind [Hon Hai Precision Industry Co founder] Terry Gou (郭台銘).
After Gou said that he would not be running, I of course had a chance. Friends from the PFP came and told me that Soong would likely join me without hesitation.
On Oct. 25, I had a very pleasant discussion with Soong — and I felt there was hope — but I never said that he made a promise and reneged on it.
What happened is that he thought about it and decided that if he ran, the PFP would hold onto its seats in the legislature.
Looking at it now, it seems like they will hold onto their legislative seats, because Gou’s camp has also become involved [and supports the PFP]. But will the presidential election go the way he thinks it will? I do not know. We will have to wait and see how things develop.
When I met with Soong on Nov. 4, he said that he wanted to run for president and wanted me to be his running mate.
However, I have said publicly in the past that I would not run for vice president, so I told him that we should both step back and evaluate things. Then on Nov. 11, he decided that he would run on his own, which he informed me of by telephone.
I knew that if Gou ran, Soong would of course support Gou.
LT: Was Soong’s decision to run the only change since Gou decided not to run?
Wang: Gou at first promised to help convince Soong [to be my running mate]. From the beginning, I told him not to bother Soong with it. However, some days later, I asked Gou to speak with Soong and to do what he could to facilitate my ticket, which Gou did.
On Nov. 14, Gou told me that he had not done his best to persuade Soong, and he was apologetic about it. I told him to forget about it, as it might be the gods’ way of not having him [Gou] or me run.
LT: With Gou, Soong and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) serving as a “third-force alliance” how are things likely to change in the legislature?
Wang: Ko is looking forward to having Gou’s help. Gou is aligned with both sides. He might play a pivotal role. If they work together well, the PFP might gain four or five seats.
If Ko’s Taiwan People’s Party manages to secure eight or more seats, it might become a key minority party — and both parties are likely to cooperate in the future with Gou in the picture. If the New Power Party is added into the mix, it will not be easy for either the KMT or the DPP to secure a legislative majority.
Translated by staff writers Jake Chung and William Hetherington
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