KMT to take steps toward coping with by-election loss

The China Post news staff

The China Post news staff–The ruling Kuomintang is set to reshuffle its personnel at local party branches throughout Taiwan after suffering the humiliating defeat of its candidate in the Lukang mayoral by-election in central Changhua County. KMT leaders said yesterday the party will also work out more effective measures to enhance contacts with local organizations and publicize government policies to stop future election losses. The new measures will be determined by an in-depth review of the lopsided defeat of candidate Tsai Ming-chung to his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) opponent Huang Chen-yen, a former county councilor. The party heads said Tsai, a medical doctor, possesses an impeccable political image, but failed to win widespread recognition by voters because he started his campaign comparatively late.

The doctor also lacks strong political connections with local organizations in spite of his fresh and clean image. But the KMT has maintained strong support by local voters since the party’s legislative candidate, the former Lukang mayor, beat the DPP opponent in the legislative election in January. Yet some political observers said the KMT’s defeat in the by-election should warn the Ma administration of people’s widespread discontent over the widening wealth disparity, the steep rise in energy costs, and government policy on imports of questionable beef products from the United States. Analysts pointed out that the DPP has traditionally enjoyed wider support than the KMT in Lukang, but that the heavy loss of more than 10,000 votes by its candidate should serve as a wakeup call for Ma to seriously review some of the major policies.