Hung Elected KMT Chairperson with Record Low Turnout Rate

Hung Elected KMT Chairperson with Record Low Turnout Rate
Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像

Hung Hsiu-chiu, nicknamed “Little Red Pepper,” won the election for the Chair of the Kuomintang political party earlier on March 26.

After the defeat in the January elections, presidential candidate Eric Chu, who was also party chairperson then, resigned his position as an apology for his performance in the elections. This has led to the question of leadership amongst KMT members and who would lead. Four main candidates came out, with Hung and Acting Chairperson Huang Min-hui gaining most of the coverage.

Factionalism Rules

As the candidates sought votes, it gradually became clear that the race became a fight for control between two main factions. While Hung’s main base of support were people who still identify strongly with the Chinese identity, such as the Fu Hsing faction, Huang’s base of support were people who favored a more Taiwan-centric identity, but believed in the KMT. With the election of Hung, it seems that the KMT would like to continue the rapprochement with Beijing, albeit in a more cautious manner due to potential public backlash. Some of the major backers of Hung’s position could be seen at her swearing-in ceremony; senior party officials, including President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), former KMT chairmen Lien Chan (連戰) and Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) were in attendance as VIPs.

The Vote

The voter turnout was at a historic low with only 41.61% of eligible voters voting and Hung winning more than 56% of the ballots cast compared to Huang’s 33% of the votes. Out of the 330,000 some eligible voters only 140,538 votes were cast in this election. An anonymous high-ranking official of the KMT pointed out that the low vote rate was indicative of members’ pessimism of the party’s future and the resulting apathy.

First Steps

Already there are rumors of Hung expelling former spokesperson Yang Wei-chung due to his criticism of the KMT while nominating former legislators Wu Yu-sheng and Chiu Yi to important party positions. She swears to “defend the ROC, the path of peaceful cross-strait development and the values of democracy, rule of law, integrity and distributive justice” through expounding on KMT values on important issues and searching for young talent to join the KMT.

Edited by Olivia Yang

“Hung assumes KMT leadership, vows to nurture young talent" (Focus Taiwan)
“KMT’s Ousted Presidential Candidate Returns as Party Chair" (The Diplomat)
“KMT picks China-friendly Hung to lead party following election defeat" (The Japan Times)
“Hung elected KMT’s first chairwoman" (Taipei Times)
“Hung to expel reformer: report" (Taipei Times)
“Hung vows to learn from DPP, recruit younger talent to regenerate the party" (Taipei Times)