Separate speeches made by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) and KMT presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) on the party’s national congress on Sunday showed a growing rift within the party beneath an ostensible solidarity, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers said.
Ma started the congress by saying his administration initiated improvements in various fields, including diplomatic relations, cross-strait affairs, domestic governance and the economy.
He said that Taiwan’s international ratings — including the World Competitiveness Ranking by the Switzerland-based International Institute for Management Development — averaged at No.11.5 over the past seven years, an advance from the No. 16 during former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) administration.
“We have not failed Taiwan in this regard [international competitiveness] for the past eight years,” he said.
However, in his speech, Chu questioned if the KMT government has given enough attention to average citizens in its pursuit of economic development.
“Have we ignored sharing the fruits of economic growth with everyone in a fair manner when we are striving to expand the economy?” the New Taipei City mayor asked.
In her speech, Hung said that the nation is facing multiple challenges, including increasing global competition, economic stagnation, a widening wealth gap and failing distributive justice, among other issues.
DPP lawmakers interpreted Chu’s and Hung’s remarks as a slap in Ma’s face for his perceived complacency and indifference over public dissatisfaction.
Saying that Ma started his administration with “self-complacency” and would end with it, DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) said that the president has been “consistent throughout his administration.”
Huang said that while it is human nature for people in power to defend themselves, Ma’s attempt to justify himself in spite of the common understanding that Taiwanese have suffered under his administration has prompted discontent within the KMT.
“The KMT is hopeless if it refuses to acknowledge its administrative failures over the past eight years and keeps papering over its mistakes,” he said.
DPP Legislator Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) said Chu has a hidden message in his speech, which Chuang said was “blaming the eight years of stasis on Ma, who is still unabashedly boasting about himself despite growing public dissatisfaction.”
Hung was insinuating that Ma should be held accountable for the KMT’s flagging electoral prospects, Chuang said.
The conflicting views underlining the speeches of Ma, Chu and Hung indicated the KMT’s splintering beneath the appearance of a peaceful consolidation, Chuang said.
DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said that Ma is delusional and never reflects on his mistakes, and such stubbornness would lead to a KMT rout in next year’s presidential and legislative elections.
Saying that Ma, Chu and Hung were “speaking the right things in different ways,” KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said that Ma was defending himself from a macro point of view, while Chu and Hung were describing what the public think of the KMT administration.
KMT Legislator Chen Ken-te (陳根德) said that it is a known fact that the economic environment does not meet the public’s expectations and that the nation’s leaders must value the public’s opinions, stop talking political rhetoric and reflect on mistakes without comparing the present and the past.
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