Ma Ying-jeou: Caught between Public Opinion and KMT Establishment?

UDN, July 3, 2011 — Former KMT (and honorary) chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) called on the KMT to put aside unhappy issues (不爽擱一邊 – article’s headline) in a moment of major importance (大是大非時刻), in a speech at the KMT’s 18th plenary session*) in Taichung on Saturday. The national congress officially nominated incumbent president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and current prime minister Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) as the party’s  presidential and vice-presidential candidates. During the past few years, everyone had been “dissatisfied with some people or with some issues” (對有些人、有些事不滿), but at such an important moment, no effort should be spared in supporting the Ma-Wu ticket, Wu Po-hsiung told the delegates.

The ticket passed without objections (無異議通過), and KMT vice chairman Lin Feng-cheng (林豐正) then read out a written speech by another honorary KMT chairman, Lien Chan (連戰), who was absent at the plenary session**). Lien’s oldest son, KMT central committee member Sean Lien (Lien Sheng-wen, 連勝文), was also absent. In his written speech, Lien Chan said that outsiders should not read too much into his absence (外界不必過度聯想).

Having praised Ma and Wu for their integrity (操守), competence (能力), and experience (經驗), Wu Poh-hsiung held up his passport, told the delegates that he had never before felt so dignified and unhindered (畅行无阻), and expressed his hope that the current course would be continued.

For some history that may be behind the UDN article:

President Ma had taken over KMT chairmanship in October 2009 from Wu Poh-hsiung. Ma had been chairman prior to running for president in 2008, too. During his rather short chairmanship, it had been Wu’s, rather than Ma’s, job to maintain semi-official, or party-to-party relations with China’s CCP, given that that China and Taiwan have no official diplomatic relations. But while Wu apparently tried to create a good atmosphere between Taipei and Beijing after a historic meeting with CCP chairman Hu Jintao in 2008, Ma’s administration seemed to disagree with Wu’s hopeful statements.

On Sunday, the Taipei Times quoted a KMT legislator who had anonymously said that

recent incidents, including the nomination of Wu Den-yih as the vice presidential candidate and Ma’s urging retired generals to refrain from visiting China, could worsen Ma’s already problematic relations with party heavyweights from the older generation.

Lien Chan had met Hu Jintao in 2005, some three years earlier than Wu Poh-hsiung. Back then, it was reported to be the highest-level meeting between KMT and CCP officials ever since Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong had met in Chongqing, in 1945.
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Notes
*) 全會, usually referred to as “national congress” in English
**) many Taiwanese news articles that mention Lien’s absence say that he is or was visiting/travelling abroad.

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Related
» KMT approves Ma-Wu Ticket, Focus Taiwan, July 3, 2011
» The Ma-Wu-Chiang Drama, May 8, 2009

Update/Related
» Sensibility Exacerbated: Russia’s 1980s/1990s Revolution, Foreign Policy, July/Aug 2011

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