Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) yesterday announced a bid to retain his post, citing the need for a “kingmaker” to choose the most suitable candidate to win the 2024 presidential election.
As party chairman, with the ability to influence policies, Chiang said that he hoped to represent the party’s younger members and change the public’s perception of the KMT from being a rigidly hierarchical party run by older politicians.
Chiang was clear about not running for president in 2024, saying that he believed the party chair should not entertain thoughts of running for president.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
However, people are free to have their own opinion, he added.
Chiang said that he stepped up, choosing to shoulder the responsibility of leading the party when it was at its lowest after last year’s presidential election, fully aware that he would face criticism for promoting change.
Over the past year, the KMT has weathered numerous issues — including the recall of former Kaohsiung mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), re-elections for Kaohsiung mayor and city council speaker, recall motions for independent Kaohsiung city councilor Huang Chieh (黃捷) and former Democratic Progressive Party Taoyuan city councilor Wang Hao-yu (王浩宇), and protests over the importation of US pork with traces of ractopamine — but they have made the party stronger, Chiang said.
Wang was recalled as Taoyuan city councilor, while Huang remains a Kaohsiung city councilor.
The party’s long history does not mean it should be old and decrepit — it must rather change with the times, as it has done many times in the past, Chiang said, citing the reforms introduced by then-president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) in 1986.
The party must change from within as it is challenged from without, and areas such as its cross-strait policy, its policy to foster younger members, and improvements to party finances and organization all need to change, Johnny Chiang said.
The party must acclimatize itself to being in the opposition and be closer to the people, as well as familiarizing itself with technology, he added.
Younger members need to have a say in KMT policies, as the younger generation is the future of the party, he said, citing his being featured on Time magazine’s second annual “TIME100 Next” list — which recognizes “emerging leaders who are shaping the future” — as a way of encouraging younger members to step to the fore.
The KMT chairperson election is to take place in July.
Johnny Chiang defeated former Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) in the party’s chairperson by-election on March 7 last year. The election filled the vacancy left by Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), who stepped down after the party’s losses in last year’s presidential and legislative elections.
Additional reporting by Chen Yun
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