President Ma steps down as KMT chief

President Ma steps down as KMT chief
Above: Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou

TAIPEI, Taiwan - At yesterday's Zhongshan meeting, President and Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou said he will be announcing his official resignation as party leader at the KMT's weekly Central Standing Committee, in order to take responsibility for the KMT's massive election loss.

In this trying time for the party, Ma said that the KMT needs to stay calm, reflect and unite to fend off an internal rift.

Ma said what he is most concerned about is what is best for the party. As party leader, Ma said he needs to apologise to all KMT members and supporters for letting them down. Ma said his resignation is a new beginning for the party.

Ma Should Quit Presidency to Revolutionize Govt: Lee

Former President Lee Teng-hui blasted Ma for the KMT's election defeat and said that other than the chairman position, Ma should also resign from his presidential post, reports said.

Losing a large number of seats as the ruling party points to problems in policy, said Lee.

Although Ma still has two years left in his term as president, Lee feels that this is an opportune time to revolutionize the government and allow citizens to see a renewal in office. Lee said if Ma continues to govern as president, unresolved issues will remain a problem.

Lee said this election has taught many in office the consequences of "not listening to what the citizens want." To administer by listening to orders from the top, Lee said, is no longer effective and is "impossible."

In response to the KMT's candidate for the Taipei mayoral seat, Lee said that in addition to haphazard leadership, the KMT presented candidates that were "products not of quality."

Lee considers the Nov. 29 election the "most rotten battle" in the KMT's history and that the party morale has hit an all-time low. As the KMT's former chairman, Lee advised the KMT to start with a fundamental mindset change. Lee said that a game of musical chairs to replace the chairman will not get to the root of the problem.

"Although we did not win this battle, we cannot lose our ideals and values," said Ma.

Ma said the KMT has completed many reforms in the past and is a different party than it was 10, 20 or even 30 years ago. The people's expectations for the KMT move faster than the pace of change within the KMT, Ma admitted.

Ma insisted that if the party is able to reflect, the rise or fall of the KMT will be left in the party's hands. Ma referred to the KMT's history of overcoming failures and said that the people's disappointment with the KMT will be motivation for the party's future success.

Yesterday, Ma overturned KMT Vice Chairman Wu Den-yih's resignation from his position. Wu has accepted the party's appeal for him to stay.

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