Will the DPP try to take over, co-opt or replicate the KMT patronage networks?
The News Lens
By: Courtney Donovan Smith (石東文)
The Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang or KMT) is not only rotting from the inside,
dysfunctional and wedded to a deeply unpopular ideology — the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is working to both strangle the KMT at the top, and kneecap them at the local level.
While the recent selection of Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) — native born of local roots — as KMT chairman may slow their decay, the party’s institutional flaws and ideology remain firmly in place. After WWII, the Republic of China (ROC) took possession of the then Japanese colony of Taiwan on behalf of the allied powers, and after losing to Mao Zedong’s Communists in China in 1949, the KMT-ruled one-party state fled and created a Chinese government in exile on Taiwan. After a brutal 50 years of martial law and Chinese indoctrination, the KMT slowly loosened the reins and allowed for more democratic involvement by others. Their reputation for engineering Taiwan’s economic miracle in the 1970s and 1980s, some remaining institutional advantages, local patronage networks, massive wealth and a genuine appreciation by much of the population for voluntarily giving up the one party state meant the party continued to do well electorally in the 1990s and 2000s. [FULL STORY]