by Matthew Strong
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Former Legislative Vice Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu was sworn in Wednesday as the first-ever female leader of the Kuomintang.
The ceremony followed the March 26 election in which she defeated three rivals and obtained more than half the votes, allowing the party to forego a second round.
Former Interior Minister Hsu Shui-te oversaw Wednesday’s proceedings, in which acting chairwoman Huang Min-hui, Hung’s main rival in last week’s election, handed her the chairperson’s seal.
Also in attendance were President Ma Ying-jeou, Vice President Wu Den-yih, former Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng and former party chairmen Wu Po-hsiung and Lien Chan.
Hung was the KMT’s presidential candidate for several months last year until she was replaced due partly to her views on China, which were deemed too pro-Beijing by the mainstream. Those views also reportedly led to some KMT members considering leaving the party now that she has become its leader.
Hung will soon become opposition leader, since the Democratic Progressive Party already has a strong majority at the Legislative Yuan, and its chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen will take over as president on May 20.
“Taiwan is not just the DPP’s Taiwan, not just the Ing faction’s Taiwan,” Hung said, using language from the election campaign. She emphasized she would continue to pursue a line favoring cross-straits peace with China.
The new party leader listed the recruitment of young people as one of her most important tasks, while she would also try to bring back former members who had left the KMT. If the party was serious about reform, citizens and voters would be willing to give it another chance, Hung said.