New Taipei City mayor offers advice on KMT party reform

Hou You-yi says party should embrace reform, consider mainstream public opinion

New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (right)

New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (right) (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) said on Tuesday (Aug. 18) that the Kuomintang (KMT) party must consider public opinion and stay connected to everyday people by being receptive to outside criticism and not avoiding reform just because it is difficult.

In a media interview on Tuesday, Hou was asked what direction he thinks the KMT should take amid talk of party reform and personnel shuffling after the party's defeat in the Kaohsiung mayoral by-election on Saturday, CNA reported. He responded the KMT has faced many setbacks but the most important thing to keep in mind during its period of reflection is that every Taiwanese looks forward to seeing the party stand shoulder to shoulder with them.

He said reforms must take into account public opinion. Hou added that no policy proposed by the KMT should be confrontational, saying the party should strive to be grounded and “follow in the footsteps of the people.”

Hou also mentioned that many people have opinions regarding the KMT, some of which may even be different from the party’s policies. "If things must be changed, then change them. Matters that must be dealt with should be dealt with. We must accept challenges before we can stand with the will of the people," Hou stated.

He said he believes that if the party is open to external criticism, it must be willing to make changes, stating, “Don't shrink away from reforms just because they are challenging.” The KMT should advance fearlessly, all the while aligning with mainstream public opinion, he added.

Hou remarked that the party is currently going through hardship. During the process of change, there will be challenges, but the party should never be cowardly or discouraged, he said.

Hou concluded by cautioning that only if the KMT reforms wholeheartedly will it have a chance of survival.