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China Times: How can a divided KMT lead the country?
Central News Agency
2014-04-11 11:33 AM
The recent Sunflower Student Movement against a trade-in-services agreement with China has led to an early start of President Ma Ying-jeou's lame duck status and left the KMT in danger of breaking apart. The uproar over the pact can be traced back to the long-running confrontations between the ruling and opposition camps in Taiwan. Since his inauguration in 2008, Ma has been working to promote cross-Taiwan Strait peace but has been reluctant to extend an olive branch to the opposition parties in an open-minded and flexible manner. This has left the Legislature in a constant state of argument and infighting, with many of the administration's policies stalled. In addition, there is the issue of infighting within the KMT itself. A struggle that erupted last September between Ma and Legislative Yuan speaker Wang Jin-pyng has split KMT legislators into two factions -- pro-Ma and pro-Wang. Ma's tactless attempt to bring down Wang demonstrated his underestimation of the legislative speaker, overestimation of himself and miscalculation of the whole situation. The incident led to the removal of the justice minister and resignation of the state prosecutor-general, while Wang managed to retain his position as speaker and later played a critical role in resolving the student-led protests. Obviously, Ma still has much to learn in terms of political skills. Although Ma is the country's president and chairman of the KMT, Wang has control over the Legislature. Whether Ma can smooth the way for his administration for the remaining two years of his term will depend on his ability to mend his rift with Wang. The protests also exposed the Ma administration's detachment from the grassroots. When the students voiced their concerns about the widening wealth gap and worries that their future would be sold out, the doctorate-degree holders in office could not understand the young people's fear and anger. The government is using a traditional mindset to deal with the new issue of generational conflict. And while the protests are obviously political, Ma continues his spin around economic issues. Ma needs to set aside his ego and listen to the grassroots voices in order to restore the people's trust in him. (Editorial abstract -- April 11, 2014) (By Y.F. Low)
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