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Editor’s Note: Last night, the world witnessed the election of Taiwan’s first female president. While more than 6.8 million voters celebrate Tsai Ing-wen’s victory, there are still KMT and PFP supporters that are devastated with this outcome. The following is an analysis to why the two parties were defeated.
►Related News: Taiwan’s First Female President Wins By A Landslide
So much that led to KMT’s fall
The first factor to KMT’s loss is the dwindling support of the current President Ma. As the former chairperson of the KMT, Ma’s eight years in the presidential office has been littered with much dissatisfaction from many land disputes to multiple protests that has escalated to an international level. A large accomplishment of Ma is his primary goal to warm relations with China; even though often praised on international platforms for creating a peace and stable relationship, many Taiwanese citizens interpret this action as an act to sell-out Taiwan. Seen even in the US with former President Bush’s low support bringing the win of the Democrats, this effect seems to be the first layer to KMT’s loss.
Concerning the presidential election, there is a lot of controversy to even Eric Chu’s decision to run. With the original nomination being given to Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-Chu (洪秀柱), a poll showing little support for Hung led the KMT to circumvent existing laws to presidential nomination to bring up party Chairman Eric Chu. This was an extremely discussed topic due to the suspect of the KMT circumventing presidential nomination laws. (The window for party nomination was close after Hung’s nomination.) Adding onto this topic was Chu’s original insistence that he would not run for president and complete his term as mayor of New Taipei City. This was a widely discussed topic that led Chu to explain himself during the first presidential debate.
Moving away from individuals, there seems to be decreasing support from the usually strong deep blue supporters. On FTV, author and popular Taiwan social commenter, Lucifer Chu, said that the biggest problem was that KMT was old, and that keeping the old members of KMT is a detriment to the party rather than what should have been a benefit. He was referring to former premier Hao Bo-cun’s comments about KMT. In an event, He said that despite himself being a KMT member for 80 years, he believes that the New Party is the true Chinese Nationalist Party. Old political party members are usually the roots for the older generation to continue supporting this political party. However, many old veterans and supporters of KMT whom respect Hao will easily place their ballots into the New Party.
Not only has KMT lost the support of its older generation, it seems like the younger generation also see KMT as an old political party, unable to keep up with the young generation. 41-year-old real estate broker from Los Angeles, John Wu, travels back to Taiwan to support Eric Chu on his presidential campaign. Wu tells Taipei Times that KMT is simply not as creative as the DPP and does not utilize young potentials and insists on using people with strong KMT backgrounds.
With much political burden from the lame duck president and an originally reluctant presidential candidate, along with controversies surround the presidential nomination, it seems hard for their constituents to get behind this seemingly archaic political party.
Soong’s loss seemed inevitable
To put a quick peg to James Soong’s campaign, this was the fourth time Soong has been on the presidential ballot. For those that are well into their adulthood, Soong is not an unfamiliar name and with it carries a lot of questionable actions he has done to the Taiwanese people of the past during the authoritarian KMT regime that is now known as the White Terror. Coming back time after time to run for president without significant change can only beg for the same results.
However, to the youth, Soong’s campaign, which centers around breaking away from the mudslinging battle between the KMT and DPP does seem very tempting to be voted for. Afterall, Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-Je’s campaign as an independent candidate in the 2014 local election was the same tactic: a break away from the Blue and Green fight. However, with the rise of many student activist groups, many of which are led by students from prestigious universities, such as Restoration of Taiwan Social Justice (臺左維新), have put out slides and infographics to make sure people know of Soong’s past.
In both presidential debates, Soong often reminded the audience of the mudslinging of the two major parties with a simple, “Look, they’re at it again.” Even though standing out as the less argumentative and mature candidate, he was often sidelined during cross-examination when the two major candidates often directed the questions towards each other.
With the same routine and inability to convince the youth of a change in the political system, Soong was, again and not surprisingly, the least supported presidential candidate. However, the amount of legislative party votes he was able to pull is a very likely reason he decided to step into the fight once again.
Edited by Olivia Yang