Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) founder Terry Gou (郭台銘) yesterday resigned from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), expressing his disappointment at its culture of reactionary politics and backroom horse-trading.
Gou said in a statement that quitting the party was not an easy decision.
While he feels sad about leaving the party, “reason tells me I am doing the right thing, something that will significantly change the fate of the Republic of China [ROC],” he said. “If former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) could see the way the KMT has turned its back on the public and forgotten its ideals he would be heartbroken.”
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
The KMT should not exist just to oppose the Democratic Progressive Party, or to promote its members’ personal interests or to trade favors, he said.
Gou said that he had hoped to change the KMT and bring in more young people when he rejoined the party in April, but over the past several months he had been disappointed to find that “no amount of effort on my part could change the KMT’s culture of reactionary politics and backroom horse-trading.”
Gou expressed the hope that his departure would “expedite the reform and rebirth of the KMT,” while extending his good wishes to the party.
Gou announced that he would resign from the party when his office was asked to comment on an advertisement the KMT published in major newspapers yesterday, calling for party unity and urging Gou to support its presidential candidate, Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜).
Next year’s presidential and legislative elections would determine the fate of the ROC and internal divisions would cause unrest, the KMT ad said.
The ad, organized by former vice president Lien Chan (連戰), was signed by 31 party members, including Lien, KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), former vice president Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) and former KMT chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄).
The ad was one of the factors that led to Gou’s decision to quit the party, said Evelyn Tsai (蔡沁瑜), deputy chief executive of Gou’s Yonglin Foundation, when returning the Gou’s KMT membership card and certificate of honorary membership, but it was just one of many.
“Things have been building up for a while,” she added.
Ma had visited Gou, urging him to support the KMT’s presidential nominee, before attending a rally for Han in New Taipei City on Sunday, she said.
Gou had tried to convince the former president not to go to the rally and was sad to see the way Ma’s speech had been cut off in a humiliating manner, she said.
KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director-general Cheng Mei-hua (程美華) said that the KMT does have much room for improvement, but that when Gou rejoined the party with the intention of running for president, he should have known that he would not have everything his own way.
“Run [for president] if you like. Why bother with all the acting?” Cheng said.
Gou was reconfirmed as a member of the KMT in April when the party awarded him the status of honorary member after he offered it an interest-free loan of NT$45 million (US$1.45 million at the current exchange rate) in 2016.
That allowed Gou to participate in the KMT’s presidential primary, which he lost to Han by 17.1 percentage points.
Han’s campaign office said that it was “extremely disappointed” at Gou’s decision, adding that Han would do his best to reform the party and change the nation for the better.
Asked whether Gou would now enter the presidential race, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said: “In Taiwan there are lots of discussions about the candidates for the 2020 election... The process will run its course following the election regulations.”
“Our party is very united at this time,” Tsai said. “We will continue to stay united, so that we can garner the most support and go on to win the election.”
DPP Legislator Lai Jui-lung (賴瑞隆) said that if Gou did decide to enter the race “it could affect Tsai’s support.”
“She has a double-digit percentage lead over Han right now, but with Gou’s entry, Tsai’s support could be trimmed to a single-digit percentage,” Lai said. “The DPP must be careful about this development.”
Additional reporting by Jason Pan
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