President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has reportedly decided to resign as chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to take responsibility for the party’s crushing defeat in the nine-in-one elections on Saturday, but the news had not been confirmed by KMT spokesperson Charles Chen (陳以信) as of press time.
The news that Ma would make a “big announcement” at a meeting of the party’s Central Standing Committee on Wednesday to resign as chairman emerged on various media outlets almost simultaneously yesterday morning.
Chen said he was not able to confirm the reports, but added that Ma had explicitly told the party that he would never cling to the chairmanship and would take responsibility for the election results.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
The KMT won in six of the nation’s 22 cities and counties, losing control of historical strongholds it held in Taipei, Greater Taichung and Taoyuan to the Democratic Progressive Party. It previously controlled 15 seats.
On Saturday, Ma approved the resignations of Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and KMT Secretary-General Tseng Tung-chuan (曾永權).
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said yesterday morning that he offered to resign as KMT vice chairman on Saturday night.
Hau said the election results are a warning from voters to the KMT, calling on the party to examine the message conveyed by the losses and strive to listen more attentively to what people have to say.
Hau said on Facebook that as an incumbent mayor who was responsible for campaigning for KMT Taipei mayoral candidate Sean Lien (連勝文), he takes responsibility for the loss in the capital.
If Ma resigns, Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), one of the KMT’s eight vice chairs, reportedly would take up the position temporarily until an election is held in three months to select a new chairperson.
Wu said he believes Ma has been deliberating whether he should step down as chairman, adding that to remain in the role would be more difficult than to resign because it was like “burning the candle at both ends.”
Defeated Greater Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) said he would continue to serve the party as a vice chairman, although he had considered resigning when he learned of Hau’s decision.
In an interview with China Television, Hu said he would rather work with the party in this time of difficulty than resign.
The reason the KMT lost the election is because it did not understand the younger generation, Hu said.
“Young people take for granted what they are given and they think they are owed what they long for. If you give them an iPhone 5, they are still mad at you because you did not give them an iPhone 6,” he said.
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