After an overwhelming election defeat earlier this year at the hands of Taiwan’s DPP under President Tsai Ing-wen, the nation’s main opposition party officially embarked on its road to recovery Saturday, at least in party eyes, by electing a new party chair.
Johnny Chiang, 48, a US educated lawmaker originally from Taichung, and also a former member of Taiwan’s elite army special forces in his youth is seen as a relatively young up and coming star in the Kuomintang (KMT) ranks.
During Saturday’s party election, Chiang defeated a man twenty years his senior in the shape of former Taipei Mayor Hua Lung-pin, but is now faced with an issue many in the party and throughout Taiwan hold a keen interest in – his party’s relationship with Beijing.
Traditionally a party with very close political ties to China, Chiang who officially took office earlier today has said he will “redesign” the KMT according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA).
Exactly how he plans to do so remains unknown as no official party line has yet been made public, although speculation is rife in both local media and across the Internet.
Chiang has gone on record, however, saying that any reforms would be “very complicated” hinting at a drawn-out process of reform presumably aimed at pacifying the more conservative older members of the KMT by adding “I have confidence there can be step-by-step reform of the Kuomintang, “I believe that the Kuomintang after reform will make you feel proud again.”