As the presidential candidate of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) has to overcome many hurdles to reach the presidential office. In addition to confronting former Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), chairman of the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), and Vice President William Lai (賴清德) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Hou needs to deal first with two major figures in the KMT: former Kaohsiung mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co founder Terry Gou (郭台銘).
Hou has been working hard to cozy up to Han to save his low approval ratings and consolidate the support of the deep-blue camp. The two finally met at the Huang Fu-hsing (黃復興) military veterans’ branch. Even though the two men were seated next to each other, it was clear that there was a huge division between them. Never has Han said something like “please support Hou You-yi.” The interaction between them and their body language also revealed a clear message.
Obviously, Han has not yet let go of Hou’s attitude toward him in the 2020 presidential election.
His reaction to Hou’s presidential campaign is only to give Hou a dose of his own medicine.
However, if Hou’s approval ratings were higher than they are now, could Han still give Hou the cold shoulder? A lesson can be learned from the Han-Hou relationship: Politicians are ruthless and calculating, and their actions are entirely based on realistic thinking.
For them, it is difficult to let bygones be bygones. Asking them to return good for evil is certainly out of the question. They are far from saints. They are politicians.
An even more embarrassing incident happened to Hou at the event when some participants, apparently supporters of Han, shouted “president Han.” Indeed, even though Han and Hou met and sat together, their togetherness was merely for the sake of formality. Han’s support for Hou is ambiguous, and Han’s supporters have remained steadfastly loyal to him.
The Han-Hou relationship and their different attitudes respectively in 2020 and this year show that the person who is not running for president would gain the upper hand.
However, even though Han has been giving Hou the cold shoulder, he is not really qualified to do that. What makes him think it appropriate to be so complacent? As the saying goes: “A defeated general cannot count himself brave.” In 2018, Han miraculously won the local elections for the KMT to become Kaohsiung mayor, but before long, he was vanquished in the presidential election in 2020.
Han’s defeat severely affected the KMT’s legislative candidates, and he was soon removed from his mayoral post by Kaohsiung residents in a recall vote. At that point, party morale within the KMT was at a truly low point.
These incidents show that Han is more of a liability than an asset to the KMT. He always speaks in a way to knock someone off their feet and his political stance is to promote unification with China. Even so, Han is still recognized by the KMT as a remarkable figure, and by Hou as a rescuer of his low approval ratings. If anything, it proves that the KMT and Hou can no longer do much about the presidential election.
Han is a piece of driftwood for the KMT to hang on to in the open sea. Grabbing it might prolong the time before it sinks below the waves, but it certainly cannot ensure that it will safely make landfall.
Chen Wen-ching works in environmental services.
Translated by Emma Liu
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has a good reason to avoid a split vote against the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in next month’s presidential election. It has been here before and last time things did not go well. Taiwan had its second direct presidential election in 2000 and the nation’s first ever transition of political power, with the KMT in opposition for the first time. Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was ushered in with less than 40 percent of the vote, only marginally ahead of James Soong (宋楚瑜), the candidate of the then-newly formed People First Party (PFP), who got almost 37
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate and New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) has called on his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) counterpart, William Lai (賴清德), to abandon his party’s Taiwanese independence platform. Hou’s remarks follow an article published in the Nov. 30 issue of Foreign Affairs by three US-China relations academics: Bonnie Glaser, Jessica Chen Weiss and Thomas Christensen. They suggested that the US emphasize opposition to any unilateral changes in the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait, and that if Lai wins the election, he should consider freezing the Taiwanese independence clause. The concept of de jure independence was first
Many news reports about the Israel-Hamas war highlight casualties, deaths, and destruction. Journalists rarely delve into how either society has responded and mobilized to deal with the war. This article provides a brief view of how Israel and Israelis have reacted to the war as individuals, groups, and as a nation. A useful template for Taiwan to prepare for a potential future conflict with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is how Israelis self-organized to deal with this crisis. Prior to the Hamas terrorist attack on Oct. 7, Israelis were even more polarized about public policy than the US or Taiwan.
Following the failure of the proposed “blue-white alliance,” New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi named Broadcasting Corp of China (BCC) chairman Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康) as his running mate on the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential ticket, while the other prospective half of the alliance, Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), named TPP Legislator Cynthia Wu (吳欣盈). The result is a three-horse race, which is getting tighter. Hou and Ko are likely to put all their focus on being seen as the top challenger to Vice President William Lai (賴清德), the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) candidate, to