Ma decision crucial
to the future of the KMT
By Kuo Chen-hero ³¢®¶Åb
As the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) changed its regulations to make it
mandatory for a KMT president to double as party chairman, the question of
whether President Ma Ying-jeou (°¨^¤E) should serve as KMT chairman has once again
become the nation¡¦s hottest political topic.
There is no right or wrong answer to the question. Different answers can be made
by assuming different decisionmaking modes.
With a vertical approach, there are three reasons for Ma to serve in both roles.
First, a well-supported successor to the president has yet to appear. A rash
decision to elect a new party chairman would not help party unity.
Second, by doubling as party chairman, Ma is able to avoid becoming a lame-duck
president and being further attacked by political rivals.
Third, some of Ma¡¦s supporters believe that the real challenges are posed by KMT
political heavyweights, who focus on him like tigers eyeing their prey. By
serving as party chairman, he is able to consolidate his leadership, while the
ruling party assists the government in its operations.
With a horizontal approach, there are three reasons for Ma to choose not to
double as KMT chairman.
First, during the rest of his second term Ma can focus on the implementation of
major policies and perform his duties well, which would help his legacy.
Second, Ma could cast off the restrictions imposed on him by the KMT to create
more favorable conditions for the nation¡¦s development without being burdened by
Third, by not serving as KMT chairman, Ma could diversify political risk and
cultivate a successor within the party.
Vertical thinking attempts to build consistency ¡X requiring a logical, step by
step plan, while horizontal thinking attempts to build inconsistency ¡X requiring
the creation of opportunities, thinking outside of the box and some luck.
A vertical thinking approach when everything is going smoothly and a horizontal
approach when things get tough might be the best plan, because a giant leap may
The KMT should consider this seriously because whether Ma should serve as
president and party chairman is a big decision. The result will affect his
historical status and the party¡¦s future.
Kuo Chen-hero is an adjunct professor in the School of Business at Soochow
Translated by Eddy Chang