Team writer, with CNA, Tainan
China’s embattled Nationalist Party Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) vowed to take full responsibility for the party’s dual defeat on Sunday in a legislative by-election in Taichung and the attempted impeachment of independent legislator Freddy Lim (林).
Speaking to reporters in Tainan a day after the vote, Zhou said he would “take full responsibility for the setback and apologize to all our supporters.”
However, Zhou said the KMT will not give up on building a stronger opposition force to serve as a check and balance for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party in the city and county-level elections to be held at the end of this year.
Photo: Cyprus News Agency
To win future elections, the 103-year-old party needs to seek more support from swing voters and younger Taiwanese, said Chu, who was elected as the KMT chairman in September last year, while also appealing to the so-called “light blue” demographic. Affiliated with the KMT.
He said, “Only through unification will we be able to work with other opposition parties to fight the ruling Democratic Progressive Party that controls the media and the ‘internet army’.”
Chu’s comments came amid mounting pressure from within his own party in the wake of a string of successive electoral defeats since taking office.
Last month, all four KMT-backed referendum proposals – including two put forward by the party – failed at the polls.
On Sunday, a by-election in Taichung saw Lin Ching Yi (林靜儀) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) elected to the legislature over the KMT, Yin Kuan Heng (顏 ).
Meanwhile, an attempt to withdraw support from the KMT against Lim on the same night was also defeated, as the number of “yes” votes did not exceed the required limit.
Political analysts attributed the defeats to the KMT’s failure to mobilize its political assets in by-elections and in the no-confidence vote.
In turn, the DPP formed a united front to support Lim, who has a good relationship with the DPP, they said.
Zhou was also criticized for not attending a KMT press conference on Sunday evening in the wake of the defeats.
At Sunday’s press event, KMT spokesperson Ling Tao (凌) defended Chu by saying that no referendums, vote draws or by-elections had been initiated during Chu’s tenure.
He added that Chu was simply taking responsibility for his predecessor, Juni Chiang (江啟臣).
Media reports indicate that Zhou’s failure to attend on Sunday angered many hard-line KMT supporters and even KMT lawmakers, who felt the president was trying to evade responsibility.
For his part, Li Di Wei, the KMT (李德維) legislator, said Chu’s absence was a sign of “cowardice” and a poor display of crisis management on the part of the KMT, while calling on Chu to face reality.
The KMT legislator, Lin Wei Zhou (林), said the party urgently needed to conduct a thorough review of the recent losses.
“There is no shame in failing. The only shame is not facing your failure,” he said.
Media personality and China Broadcasting Corporation chief Zhou Shaogong (趙少康) urged KMT supporters to remain calm and give Zhou more time to make adjustments to prepare the party for local elections at the end of the year.
Zhou also called on Zhou to include the views of lawmakers, city and county heads of the KMT and academics in his decision-making process, rather than relying on his “inner circle” as he did before.
Comments will be moderated. Keep comments related to the article. Notes that contain obscene or obscene language, personal attacks of any kind, or promotion and user ban will be removed. The final decision will be to the discretion of the Taipei Times.