The Kuomintang, also known as the KMT or Nationalist Party, celebrated its one hundredth anniversary on November 24, 1994. The KMT has a membership of approximately 1.05 million and had won almost every major election until recently. It lost to the Democratic Progressive Party in the 1997 election for county magistrates and city mayors, the 2000 presidential election, and the 2001 Legislative Yuan election. As a result of its defeat in the 2000 presidential election, the KMT initiated a major reorganization, including re-registration of all its members.
At the grassroots level, members are organized into cells. Moving upward, there are district, county, and city congresses and committees. The highest level is the National Congress and the Central Committee.
The National Congress is the highest authority of the party. Its delegates are selected to serve four-year terms. The congress amends the party charter, determines the party platform and other important policies, elects the party chairman and the Central Committee members, and approves candidates nominated by the chairman to serve as vice chairmen and members of the Central Advisory Council. When the National Congress is in recess, the supreme party organization is the Central Committee, which holds a plenary session every year.
The Central Standing Committee, which represents the Central Committee when that body is not in session, is the most influential organization in the KMT. It meets every week to discuss and approve important policies and nominate candidates for important positions.
General party affairs are managed by the secretariat under current Secretary-General Lin Fong-cheng ªLÂ×¥¿. The secretariat manages various party departments and commissions. At lower levels, party organizations have their own secretariats and administrative staffs. All of these organizations, from the national to the local level, are funded primarily by profits from party-owned and -operated business enterprises, ranging from newspapers and TV stations to electrical appliance companies and computer firms.
The first meeting of the KMT's 14th National Congress held in August 1993 approved significant changes in how party affairs were conducted, deciding that the National Congress would elect the party chairman through secret ballot. Then ROC President Lee Teng-hui won 83 percent of the votes and was reelected chairman of the party. In addition, four vice-chairmen, nominated by Lee and approved by the National Congress, were added to the Central Committee. The KMT also decided that the chairman would appoint only 10 to 15 of the 31 members of the Central Standing Committee, with the remaining members elected by the Central Committee. Finally, it decided to hold the National Congress every two years, instead of every four years. The second meeting of the 14th National Congress was held in August 1995 to nominate the party's presidential candidate for the March 1996 election.
In August 1997, the 15th National Congress was convened. President Lee Teng-hui was reelected chairman of the party with 93 percent of the votes. The congress also approved four vice-chairmen, one of whom was Vice President Lien Chan, and elected 230 Central Committee members. In the first plenary session of the 15th Central Committee held immediately after the congress, 17 members were elected to the enlarged Central Standing Committee, and 16 were appointed by the chairman. In August 1998, a new Central Standing Committee was elected in the second plenary session of the 15th Central Committee.
In August 1999, the second meeting of the 15th National Congress ratified the nomination of Lien Chan and Vincent Siew as the KMT's presidential and vice-presidential candidates for the 2000 presidential election. At the third plenary session of the 15th Central Committee held later, the Central Standing Committee was reorganized.
After the KMT lost the presidential election in March 2000, Lee Teng-hui resigned as party chairman and Lien Chan succeeded him as acting chairman. At the provisional meeting of the 15th National Congress held three months later, Lien was elected party chairman. Five new vice-chairpersons, including one woman, were nominated by Lien and approved by the congress. At the fourth plenary session of the 15th Central Committee following the provisional meeting of the National Congress, all 31 members were elected to the new Central Standing Committee, with none selected by appointment.
The provisional meeting also revised the party charter, eliminating the provincial party organization. Another important change made was the direct election of future party chairmen by all party members. On March 24, 2001, Lien Chan became the first directly elected party chairman by winning 97 percent of the vote.
The 16th National Congress was convened in July 2001. The five incumbent vice-chairpersons were re-nominated by Lien and approved by the Congress. A new 210-member Central Committee was also elected, which, in turn, elected the 31 members of the Central Standing Committee. In order to boost the party's image, the Congress also revised the party charter, barring those convicted of criminal or sexual offenses from seeking nomination for public offices.
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