TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Reflecting on the results of the Kuomintang (KMT) leadership race, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) has predicted the cracks in KMT unity will likely widen into a chasm.
Lin noted that former Chairperson Johnny Chiang (江啟臣), who advocates maintaining the status quo with China, came in third place, while Chang Ya-chong (張亞中), who is pushing to merge Taiwan with China, rose to second. The winner, Eric Chu (朱立倫), remains vague and non-committal in his policy toward Beijing, which masks internal divisions that are rife within the party, according to a UDN report.
Lin said KMT chairperson elections have always been predictable affairs, with a clear consensus forming in the party ranks over who would be the winner even before ballots are cast. He said the voting was previously more of a ritual to legitimize the next leader and that there has rarely been fierce competition for the position like there was this time.
Lin said this was a bizarre race for the KMT. At first, Chu’s victory seemed certain, but dark horse Chang burst through in popularity, prompting Chu to get busy winning over various party factions to ensure he had enough support.
Lin described it as a “tragic victory,” saying the “deep blue” pro-unification faction had shown its strength. Even though Chu has been elected, this pro-China undercurrent will inevitably pull the KMT into troubled waters as it increasingly sets the agenda for the party, he said.
Lin lamented the result for Chiang, who tried valiantly to reform the KMT and pull it toward a more moderate position on China. Yet he could not break through in an organization where party elders still dominate, the legislator added.