Kuomintang leadership continues to court narcissism

By Yuan-Ming Chiao, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Even as popularity rises for its dark-horse candidate Hung Hsiu-chu, the KMT party leadership continues to put narrow calculations above larger goals.

For months, the ruling Kuomintang has been ensconced in the doldrums of defeat, indecision and false precepts. Following major electoral defeat in 2014, the party has remained listless, feeling the fleeting embers of gratification only when criticizing DPP presidential hopeful Tsai Ing-wen. It is a party with a hierarchy that has chosen to opt out before the contest, its leaders cowering from taking a stand. And though the beating of an unfamiliar drum has gained momentum in the past few days with the growing popularity of Hung Hsiu-chu, the party continues to give off a waft that voters are only too familiar with: this is not the character of a viable, not to say trustworthy ruling party. For its Leaders, Rules are Only Guidelines With days before a party-sanctioned opinion poll to determine the eligibility of Hung, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng dropped a glaring hint that the party could, if it should wish to, draft him as the KMT presidential candidate for which he would feel obliged to accept. If called to run, the ��duty-bound�� Wang would have the party’s war chest to use at his decree, using ��party unity�� as a shield against those who advocate a primary process more in line with democratic principles. Hung took these remarks in stride: her soaring popularity in the past weeks, albeit from a low base, suggests that it is highly likely she will pass the opinion poll threshold. But Wang’s actions are indicative of a leadership that calls for ��unity and solidarity,�� yet remains open to fractious action, vacillating between ��running a primary according to regulations�� or assenting to the will of its ��A-listers.�� Party Unity Only in Name