Taiwan's opposition KMT amends party election rules

TAIPEI • Taiwan's opposition Kuomintang (KMT) has amended its Charter, allowing for the direct election of local party leaders and the institution of a more rigorous internal selection process for local election candidates, as the party tries to regain the confidence of Taiwanese after a mauling at the legislative elections in January.

At its national convention in Taipei, which had the broad theme of "Honest Retrospection and Courageous Reform", more than 670 KMT delegates on Sunday called for the amendment.

Following the successful passing of the amendment, the party stated it would set up a special committee within one month to oversee implementation of the changes.

  • 670

  • Number of KMT delegates who called for the amendment

KMT chairman Hung Hsiu-chu warned that work was still to be done to win back people's trust, telling party members to "double our resolve and sincerity to reverse the loss of faith in our party and win back support bit by bit".

Citing a local by-election win two weeks ago as a possible turning point in KMT's fortunes, its one-time presidential candidate called on the party to follow the spirit of former president Chiang Ching-kuo, who ruled Taiwan from 1978 to 1988. Mr Chiang, whose presidency saw the end of martial law, is credited by some with decentralising the KMT.

With an eye on recent testy cross-strait ties, Ms Hung called for a platform that would "actively pursue a peace agreement" to ease animosity with the mainland as a counter to the "independence platform" of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

She urged President Tsai Ing- wen to acknowledge the so-called 1992 Consensus - a tacit agreement between Beijing and the then Taiwan government that there is "one China" - in order to avoid a "direct collision" with China. Ms Tsai has yet to publicly endorse it since taking office in May.

Ms Hung also accused the DPP of "de-Sinifying" Taiwan, emphasising the need to "promote Chinese culture and history, as well as strengthen cross-strait cultural, historical and educational exchanges", adding that only through such efforts could it "avoid a culture of Taiwanese independence and feelings of distance and mistrust".


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 06, 2016, with the headline 'Taiwan's opposition KMT amends party election rules'. Print Edition | Subscribe