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China Times: Will the KMT continue to self-disintegrate?

China Times: Will the KMT continue to self-disintegrate?

The Kuomintang (KMT) is in tatters after losing both the presidential and legislative elections on Jan. 16, leaving the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in complete control of the government for the first time.

To support a healthy political party system and maintain the stable development of cross-strait ties, the KMT must become a powerful opposition party that can counterbalance the DPP's power.

Over the past year, pan-blue supporters have become very disenchanted with the party, and the party has disintegrated rapidly.

The individuals who are vying for the party chairman post should realize that if pan-blue supporters cannot be united, the party will not be able to engage in reforms.

Also, if the party leaders cannot demonstrate humility, self-reflection and sincerity in engaging in reforms and cannot put forth substantive positions, party supporters will become even more disenchanted and disillusioned.

To be able to institute reforms, the top priority for the party's new chairperson will be to galvanize supporters and achieve solidarity.

Reforms should take place in two stages, with the party pondering how to stand firm in the first stage and then engage in comprehensive reforms in the next stage.

The most urgent task is to conduct the by-election for party chairman in a just, open and democratic way to give the new chairperson the legitimacy necessary to push for reforms.

The new chairperson should realize that his or her mission will be "transitional" and proclaim that he or she has no intention of continuing to serve in the post beyond the remaining 18-month term to be in better position to carry out reforms successfully.

After the new chairperson takes office, the individual must realize that the party needs to carry out reforms on three fronts -- talent, political ideology and organization.

The party should invite opinion leaders, especially elites who have long left the party, to return and organize the party's reform committee or hold a national meeting on KMT reforms so as to provide guidance on the party's path, organization and people.

The transitional chairperson should revise chairman election regulations and allow all pan-blue supporters to re-join the party.

The democratization of grassroots level party officials should also be a priority, and the party's chapter heads should be elected through popular votes.

The reconstruction of the party's values and positions on issues should be at the core of any reform initiative.

Taiwan's younger generation is full of "Taiwan consciousness," yet Taiwan and China should by no means be in conflict with each other.

The "China factor" is the historical legacy and unique brand of the KMT, and Sun Yat-sen's "Three Principles of the People" -- and especially the principle of the people's livelihood -- is still the most important value of the KMT and the soul of the party for its supporters.

The KMT should develop a new advocacy that modernizes and localizes the principle of the people's livelihood, and this position must be the core appeal of the party if it is to survive.