KMT’s advances in deep-green areas a cause for celebration, party head says

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Mar 18, 2019 - Page 3

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) yesterday lauded the party’s performance in Saturday’s legislative by-elections, saying it has made headway narrowing the margins between the KMT and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in traditionally deep-green areas.

Wu made the remarks in response to media queries about whether the KMT’s failure to secure more legislative seats in the by-elections means that the so-called “Han wave” in the lead-up to Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu’s (韓國瑜) election last year has waned.

“We cannot look at it like that,” Wu said, adding that New Taipei City’s third electoral district in Sanchong District (三重) has traditionally been a deep-green area.

Compared with past election results in Sanchong, which showed a margin of almost 20 percent between the DPP and the KMT, Wu said that his party reduced the gap to about 5 percent this time.

Tainan has long been a DPP stronghold, but despite all-out campaign efforts by the DPP, its candidate, Kuo Kuo-wen (郭國文), only defeated the KMT’s Hsieh Lung-chieh (謝龍介) by 3 percent, he said.

“Significantly narrowing the margins is progress in itself,” he said.

The KMT only won in Changhua County, while the DPP secured two seats, in New Taipei City and Tainan, and independent Chen Yu-chen (陳玉珍) claimed victory over the KMT candidate in Kinmen County.

Asked whether the KMT would continue to rely on the “Han wave” in next year’s presidential and legislative elections, Wu said that every vote would require a serious effort by all party members, especially given the narrow margins between the DPP and the KMT at the moment.

Separately yesterday, former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) of the KMT, who has launched a presidential bid, said that the KMT should endeavor to become a party that can inspire people’s support, rather than trying to be the “less detestable” party.

Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) in a video on Facebook on Saturday said that while the results of the legislative by-elections did not mean victory for the DPP, they showed that the electorate is willing to give the party an opportunity to improve.

Additional reporting by CNA