Premier Dr Jiang Yi-huah led 80 members of his Cabinet to resign en masse this morning following the humiliating defeat of the ruling Kuomintang in Saturday’s local elections. Taiwan’s Vice-President Wu Den-yih then offered his resignation as vice-chairman of the KMT to President Ma Ying-jeou, who is chairman of the KMT. “Vice-chairman Wu Den-yih tendered his resignation to chairman Ma this morning,” Wu’s office said in a text message to journalists. However, it was not immediately known whether Ma had accepted his resignation as the deputy head of the ruling party. Yesterday party officials said that Ma was also expected to resign as chairman of the KMT following the defeat. Jiang had resigned on Saturday in order to assume responsibility for the KMT’s worst electoral setback since coming to power in 1949. A caretaker administration would remain in office until after President Ma appointed a new Cabinet head, Cabinet spokesman Sun Lih-chyun said.
Observers said the resignation of Wu might temporarily pacify a fierce power struggle expected if Ma steps down as chairman of the ruling party, a decision party officials said would be announced during the KMT’s central standing committee meeting to be held on Wednesday.
Wu, as the first vice-chairman of the KMT, is supposed to take over from Ma as acting party head before a new leader is elected within three months in line with the KMT regulations.
Analysts said a new power struggle within the party would erode the KMT’s chances in the 2016 presidential poll if the infighting persisted.
They also said that although the weekend elections were local contests, both the KMT and Beijing had to be prepared for the results to have some fallout on cross-strait relations.