Wang likely to be next KMT head, US academic says


Mon, May 16, 2005 - Page 3

A US scholar predicted Saturday that the results of the National Assembly elections might give Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) a better chance of winning the chairmanship of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

John Tkacik, a senior research fellow of the Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based think tank, made the prediction while commenting on the election results.

Despite a low voter turnout of about 23 percent, parties in support of the proposal of a package of constitutional amendments approved by the Legislative Yuan last August won 83 percent of the votes, with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) gaining 42.5 percent of the votes and 127 seats. The KMT won nearly 39 percent of the votes and 117 seats.

Tkacik said the international media is interpreting the result as a victory for President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and the greens, rather than a victory for the forces supporting constitutional amendment, and added that the results are a sign that Taiwanese public opinion still supports an identity separate from China's.

He also said the election results should "bolster the chances" for Wang to become KMT chairman because "he seems to represent the forces in the KMT that support constitutional change far more than Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九)."

Wang and Ma are currently vying with each other for the next chairmanship of the KMT.

Meanwhile, Tkacik said he was surprised that the TSU got the third-largest share of the votes and that the DPP and TSU did so well despite the extremely low turnout, since he orginally believed that a low turnout would benefit the pro-China parties in the wake of recent visits to China by the heads of the KMT and the PFP.