Taiwan’s Ma to resign as KMT chairman after party defeat in local elections

World Today

Ma Ying-jeouTaiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou exits the polling booth after preparing his votes in the local elections including Taipei mayor in Taipei, Taiwan, Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014.

Taiwan’s leader Ma Ying-jeou announced Tuesday he will step down as chairman of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party, taking responsibility for the party’s poor showing in recent local elections.

Ma will submit his official resignation at a meeting of the KMT Central Standing Committee Wednesday. The leader said that, as the KMT chairman, he would like to shoulder the responsibility for the party’s “unprecedented heavy defeat” in the elections held Saturday.

“I need to apologize to all the supporters and those devoted to the establishment of the party for letting them down, and I must make profound reflection on the losses,” said Ma, adding he will again make an apology to all party members with a bow at tomorrow’s meeting.

The party should stay calm and strengthen solidarity, he said, urging all members to keep their faith and values.

Taiwan’s chief administrator Jiang Yi-huah also resigned. Jiang announced his decision at a press conference on Saturday evening.

Jiang said the voting results showed the public’s discontent with their administration and he decided to take responsibility, hoping Ma could appoint a new chief administrator as soon as possible.

The cabinet will also step down, as is customary when the chief administrator resigns. Ma Ying-jeou will nominate Jiang’s replacement soon, and will re-shuffle heads of department.

In Saturday’s election. the KMT won six out of 22 municipalities in Taiwan’s biggest-ever local elections, while the opposition Democratic Progressive Party won 13 seats, according to the island’s electoral authorities.

Running as an independent, organ transplant surgeon Dr. Ko Wen-je became mayor of Taipei—an office controlled by the KMT for the past 16 years. The office is widely seen as a stepping stone for politicians aspiring to become Taiwan leader.

The polls selected 11,130 public officials, ranging from mayors to county chiefs, city councilors and village leaders. The so-called “nine-in-one” elections involved more candidates and more vacant positions than any previous election in the island’s history.

Story compiled with information from CCTV News, Xinhua, Reuters and The Associated Press.