Retired army general Yu Pei-chen (于北辰) on Friday announced on Facebook that he was leaving the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). POP Radio politics talk show host Chiu Ming-yu (邱明玉) said that she has heard that Yu might run as an independent candidate for city councilor in this year’s local elections.
Instead of running as an independent candidate for the Taoyuan City Council, Yu could be the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) candidate for Taoyuan mayor. According to news reports, DPP internal polling shows that, despite having been born into a KMT-supporting military family, voters view Yu as level-headed and reasonable.
Yu has previously said that he decided to leave military social groups after some of his former comrades in the army said that if Taiwan were handed over to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army or the Chinese Communist Party, it would be governed better than it is under the DPP.
Yu said that this kind of thinking completely contravenes the oath of service to the nation that those in the military take when they join.
Yu caught the attention of online commentators and independent voters after he said that he is a member of the Republic of China “party” and supports any democratically elected government or president.
Yu, together with a number of enlightened current and former military officers, have radically improved the public’s impression of the military and established its position as an independent institution, rather than the KMT’s private army.
A great many members of the military are highly principled and share Yu’s views.
Like former general Sun Li-jen (孫立人), Yu shares the view that the military is a politically neutral institution that belongs to the nation. If the KMT is unable or unwilling to draw upon Yu’s leadership and experience, the DPP should grasp the opportunity with both hands.
Teng Hon-yuan is a university professor.
Translated by Edward Jones
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