Rising star Sean Lien upsets Ma faction with attack

Attack on state of economy by son of former KMT chairman earns wrath of party members

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 November, 2012, 3:12am

The son of a former Kuomintang chairman has stirred up a political tempest by saying that given the island's poor economy it does not make a difference whoever is elected next Taipei mayor.

Sean Lien, the son of Lien Chan and a member of the KMT central committee, is seen as a rising political star among the younger generation of the KMT, and he is also one of the hopefuls for the Taipei mayoral position.

However, Lien's observation about the current state of Taiwan's economy has not been well-received by the KMT faction supporting President Ma Ying-jeou.

"With the exception of scheming politicians, most of the public simply doesn't care who runs for Taipei mayor," Sean Lien said during the KMT's central advisory committee meeting on Saturday when asked by reporters if he would run for the position.

He then added: "Whoever is elected would merely be the head of the Beggars' Sect", referring to a fictional martial arts sect made popular by the Hong Kong novelist Jin Yong.

Anonymous KMT members issued a rebuttal that night, saying that all KMT members must stand by the public's side when running for office, rather than seek power and wealth.

In an apparent attempt to assuage anger over the junior Lien's comments, KMT spokesman Yin Chi said yesterday that the party understood that Sean Lien's comments, which criticised his own party, were made with good intentions, and that the party would listen to any criticism and try to clarify any misunderstandings.

A KMT official who declined to be identified said yesterday that the pro-Ma faction in the party would not tolerate open criticism from any fellow party member regarding Ma's economic record. Ma has faced mounting criticism for failing to lift the economy.

"The rebuttal was actually because of an internal rift between the pro-Ma and anti-Ma camps," the official said.

While some KMT politicians have been pushing the junior Lien to run for Taipei mayor, a post that the incumbent, Hau Lung-bin, must step down from in 2014 after serving two terms, the fight between the two camps has become more obvious, the unidentified official said.