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Eric Chu faces challenging task of reviving KMT's fortunes

Eric Chu faces challenging task of reviving KMT's fortunes

Taipei, Jan. 17 (CNA) New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu, the newly elected chairman of the ruling Kuomintang, faces the daunting task of helping the demoralized party rise again from the ashes after it suffered a crushing defeat in local elections late last year. The party managed to retain only six of the 15 cities and counties it previously governed, while the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) had a net gain of seven cities and counties under its control to 13. The by-election Saturday was called after President Ma Ying-jeou, who also served as party chairman, stepped down to take responsibility for the defeat. "The priority of the party at this most difficult time is not to share power, but to shoulder responsibility," Chu has said. Chu vowed to engage in party reform to regain public trust, adding that "the defeat has dealt a harsh blow to the KMT, but it has also given it the chance to rise again." He stressed he would rediscover the spirit of the party and listen to the voice of the people to regain political power. On public misgivings about the party's controversial assets, he said clearly that "illegally gained party assets of course must be returned," adding that after becoming party chairman, he will take a closer look at the situation and ask qualified people to explain it to the public. Lee Te-wei (???), a KMT central standing committee member, said that after assuming his party post, Chu should integrate the affairs of the Legislature, the government and the party, which should be "his strength" because Chu previously served as a legislator and vice premier. Hsieh Lung-chieh (???), another KMT Central Standing Committee member and head of the KMT's Tainan chapter, said Chu fared well in the southern city, with over 60 percent of eligible voters turning out. "This indicates that party members recognize his leadership," Hsieh said. Hsieh said the party will have to seek the support of the executive and legislative branches and find talented people to maintain its majority in the Legislature and even seek victory in the 2016 presidential election against all odds. "These are the issues that the party chairman cannot avoid," he said. Chu's first task after assuming his post will be the Feb. 7 legislative by-elections. It will be followed by the legislative elections in early 2016, in which the KMT will be trying to keep its legislative majority. The biggest challenge will be the presidential election, and turning the party's low morale and tarnished image into opportunity will test Chu's wisdom and abilities. (By Claudia Liu and Lilian Wu)


Updated : 2021-09-24 05:01 GMT+08:00