Date
26 September 2017
President Ma Ying-jeou bows during a news conference with party officials after the ruling Kuomintang was clobbered in local elections. Photo: Reuters
President Ma Ying-jeou bows during a news conference with party officials after the ruling Kuomintang was clobbered in local elections. Photo: Reuters

Ma expected to quit as KMT chief after election rout

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou is expected to resign as chairman of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) as soon as Wednesday after the party was routed in Saturday’s local elections.

A KMT spokesman said Ma, who apologized to supporters for the debacle, is taking full responsibility, Ming Pao Daily reported Monday.

KMT won only six out of 22 city and county seats compared with 15 four years ago.

The main opposition Democratic Progressive Party snapped up 13 seats and independent candidates three.

Of the six major cities, only New Taipei City went to KMT. The other five, including Taipei City and Taichung city, both long held by KMT, elected DPP mayors.

Ma has not given any hint whether he will give up the party chairmanship, prompting criticism from some KMT members, including some legislators.

On Saturday, he told supporters he had heard the message from the people and that his next task is to propose reform to respond to their demands.

Ma will make an “important announcement” during the KMT central standing committee meeting on Wednesday, a spokesman was quoted as saying.

If Ma quits, Vice President Wu Den-yih, the KMT first vice chairman, is expected to become acting party chief until a new chairman is elected within three months, the report said.

Premier Jiang Yi-huah, who resigned on Saturday, and 81 cabinet ministers will officially step down, a cabinet spokesman said.

The elections were regarded as a referendum on Ma’s pro-Beijing policies which have brought closer cross-strait economic relations.

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TL/AC/RA

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