Eric Chu's Gamble: To Run or Not to Run
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
May 12, 2015
Executive Summary: The KMT presidential nomination process is what the theatrical world
refers to as a “turkey”. The countdown has begun. This weekend, the
16th, is the deadline for primary registration. It is also the day KMT
Chairman Eric Chu promised to lay out his plans for the future. In
theory, the KMT presidential candidates will be announced today. So far
it appears that Eric Chu and Wang Jin-pyng will be the leading men,
while Hung Hsiu-chu and Yang Chi-liang will play supporting roles. .
Each of them will have their own role to play.
Full Text Below:
The KMT presidential nomination process is what the theatrical world refers to as a “turkey”. The countdown has begun. This weekend, the 16th, is the deadline for primary registration. It is also the day KMT Chairman Eric Chu promised to lay out his plans for the future. In theory, the KMT presidential candidates will be announced today. So far it appears that Eric Chu and Wang Jin-pyng will be the leading men, while Hung Hsiu-chu and Yang Chi-liang will play supporting roles. . Each of them will have their own role to play.
First take Hung Hsiu-chu. Many blue camp leaders are pretentious, insecure, and indecisive. Hung Hsiu-chu by contrast, is resolute and forceful. Her recent performance warrants a "Best Supporting Actor" nomination. Hung Hsiu-chu's candidacy is generally interpreted as "making a statement". She wants to rebuild KMT morale. More importantly, she wants to use her candidacy to underscore the Kuomintang's policy path. The media has also interpreted her candidacy as a way to pressure the party princes to throw their hat in the ring.
Hung Hsiu-chu was a New KMT Alliance member. She is a high-profile “non-mainstream” member. Her political colors are deep blue. It is believed that after the KMT's historic debacle in the nine in one elections, Hung Hsiu-chu intended to run for party chairman, in order to save the party from extinction. When Eric Chu chose to run for party chairman, those close to Hung encouraged her to enter the KMT presidential primaries. They hoped Hung Hsiu-chu's unambiguous political colors, made even brighter during the campaign, would promote debate within the KMT, forcing the KMT to clarify its policy path. Hung Hsiu-chu's nickname is "little hot pepper". Her candidacy would draw attention to key issues and challenge Tsai Ing-wen.
Recently Hung swore to “campaign to the bitter end". Her candidacy has indeed begun to rally deep blue support. But party members are still gathering signatures. Hung's criticisms have largely been directed at the party leadership and the rules of the game. Hung Hsiu-chu's campaign to promote the Kuomintang has not met with much success. Hung Hsiu-chu's political colors may have difficulty attracting swing voters and younger voters. This is Hung's shortcoming.
Another candidate, Yang Chi-liang, has been rather disappointing. When Yang Chi-liang began his campaign, he had much to say. He was right to blast the KMT's money and power games. But Yang Chi-liang failed to seize the opportunity to stand for office. His courageous and resolute demands for fairness and justice did encourage public debate and public attention.
In its early days, right after its founding, the KMT had a left-wing bias. But ever since, it has been a center-right political party. Now that Eric Chu is party chairman, he has vowed to pay attention to social justice and distributive justice, and correct the evils of capitalism and the market economy. So far these have remained at the declaration stage. Except for a wage increase bill, little has been done, and little has been discussed.
If on the matter of reunification vs. independence, Hung Hsiu-chu represents the KMT right-wing, then on the matter of socio-economic policy, Yang Chi-liang
represents the KMT left-wing. Hung and Yang, one right, one left, are perfectly positioned to drive debate within the KMT, to broaden the spectrum of the KMT, give it greater diversity, character, and color.
Eric Chu has repeatedly stated that he will not run. Wang Jin-pyng's moves have since attracted attention. They will definitely affect the KMT nomination. If Wang Jin-pyng eventually decides not to run, the KMT's presidential nomination will likely be an historic first. It will be one without any front runner. It that happens, the party may be forced to draft Eric Chu.
Wang Jin-pyng has long been a political representative of the so-called "nativist blues". He knows how to schmooze and has far-ranging contacts. But Wang's political colors are unclear. He has long maintained his distance from cross-Strait affairs. His cross-Strait policy remains unknown. On the other hand, he has repeatedly opposed the de-Sinicization of the name of the Chinese Kuomintang. He has long maintained links with deep blue elements. But last year, when he and Ma Ying-jeou clashed, he did not hesitate to play the provincial affiliation card and nativist card.
Wang Jin-pyng has long handled political matters in a thorough and prudent manner. If he eventually he decides to run, he must make clear his policy path and let the voters get to know him. In particular, Wang Jin-pyng must not evade matters of cross-Strait relations, legislative reform, and money politics. These are matters about which people have long harbored doubts about him.
On April 20, the China Times published one of three articles on how love of Taiwan must be rooted in reason, and why Eric Chu is the one who can best stabilize cross-Strait relations. He is the one who can turn things around for the KMT. He merely needs to decide.
If he sticks to this guns, and refuses to enter the 2016 presidential election, he would be taking a huge gamble. The risk would be no less than choosing to run now. As “chief coach”, Chairman Eric Chu must demonstrate ambition and energy. The KMT presidential primary must become a political movement in which the Kuomintang rises from the ashes, reborn. The KMT must create a platform and plan a campaign. Both party stalwarts and ordinary voters must focus on the KMT primaries, participate in the debate, and discuss the Kuomintang policy path and Kuomintang party reform. .
2015年05月12日 04:10 主筆室