Lien hails the `people's victory'

In a jubilant post-election speech, KMT Chairman Lien Chan said the result reflected the people's desire for prosperity and stability, and later hinted he may hand the party's leadership to the next generation in the new year

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sun, Dec 12, 2004 - Page 2

The pan-blue alliance's success in winning a majority of seats in yesterday's legislative elections was a victory on behalf of the people and for the Republic of China, the pan-blue camp jubilantly declared yesterday as its supporters across the nation celebrated.

"Today's victory proves one thing: what the entire nation cares most about is the nation's prosperity. The people hope that this society can have harmony. They hope that this country can have further development and reform. They hope that we will no longer walk the path of the last couple years," Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) said, after it became clear that the pan-blue alliance had won a 114 of the total 225 seats up for grabs yesterday.

"The people clearly have placed their hopes upon the shoulders of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), People First Party (PFP), New Party, on the entire pan-blue alliance," he said.

While extending his congratulations to newly elected legislators and condolences to those who did not win yesterday, Lien promised that the alliance would try to further cross-strait relations and push through nine domestic policies on education and social benefits that the alliance had earlier promised to pursue.

Echoing Lien, PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) said the results clearly showed that the people were not in support of Taiwanese independence or of large government military expenditure.

Speaking at the PFP's Taipei headquarters, Soong promised that the PFP would discuss with the KMT how best to realize the people's wishes.

The election yesterday was a victory for the pan-blue camp, with results conforming closely

to the alliance's expectations. The pan-blue camp won a total of 114 seats yesterday, including regional, Aboriginal, overseas and at-large representatives. The KMT won 79 seats, the PFP 34 and the New Party one seat.

Some 62 of the 74 KMT and New Party candidates under the KMT banner won seats yesterday, while the PFP won a reduced 27 local seats.

The pan-blue alliance also won 21 legislator-at-large seats, with the KMT contributing 15 seats to that number and the PFP six. The pan-blue alliance also won six Aboriginal seats, with the KMT winning four and the PFP two. Three of the seven New Party candidates running under the KMT's name won seats. Two KMT party candidates running without the party's approval were also elected.

The KMT predicted on Friday that it would win only 56 local seats, and that the pan-blue camp would win a total of 109 legislative seats.

The atmosphere at KMT headquarters was jubilant last night, with the lobby overflowing with joyous and tearful pan-blue supporters, chanting slogans such as "A-bian [President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁)] step down!" and "Go, KMT!"

Supporters cheered and hugged each other, while expressing satisfaction that the pan-blue camp had finally won a victory in the face of its "unjust" loss in the March 20 presidential election.

The atmosphere at the New Party's headquarters was also festive, with supporters popping open champagne when the party's candidate Wu Cheng-tien (吳成典) was declared the first winner of any electorate after the results for Kinmen County were announced at 5pm.

Given the electoral success of the party, the future of the KMT's leadership became a focus of media attention.

When asked if he would step down from the party chairmanship in February when the seat opens up according to KMT party regulations, Lien said that he has served the party for a long time already.

Furthermore, Lien said he believes in the importance of a "generational exchange of power," implying that he is ready to step down. When pressed about a timetable, however, Lien only said that everyone would adhere to the party's regulations.