Kuomintang of China

Published 30th December, 2011

The Kuomintang of China, often called the Chinese Nationalist Party or KMT was founded by Song Jiaoren and Sun Yat-sen in 1894. Its platform is based upon the ‘three principles of the people’ (nationalism, democracy and social wellbeing). The party describes itself as centre-right and believes in Chinese nationalism and anti-communism.

The Kuomintang was active on mainland China and won a large majority of the first National Assembly elections in 1912. In 1923 the KMT received aid from the Soviet Union and reorganised itself along the same lines as the Communist Party of the Soviet union.

In 1925 Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek assumed the leadership after the death of Sun Yat-sen and it was he who took the party and the Republic of China government to Taiwan in 1949 when the mainland of China was denied them by the Communist Party of China led by Mao Zedong.

The KMT government was reduced in numbers from the original 750 legislators down to 380 who moved to Taiwan. Believing that the move was temporary Chang Kai-shek declared martial law and the original plans to hold elections were put on hold until the fall of the mainland made it possible for the government to hold new elections on mainland China.

That didn’t happen and for forty years the Kuomintang ruled Taiwan. In 1969, as members of the 1949 intake started to retire or die elections were held, but it wasn’t until 1986 that fully democratic elections were held.

From this point on the KMT started to lose some of its support and in the 1989 election they took 94 of the 130 seats in the supplementary election for the Legislative Yuan with a newly emerging party the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) taking 21 seats.

The decline in number of seats continued until 2001 when the KMT came second to the DPP for the first time, taking 68 of the 225 seats, although they retained power through their joining up with other parties into the Pan Blue coalition. The KMT were also in second place in 2004 but again held on to power through the Pan Blue coalition.

In 2000 and again in 2004 the KMT lost the presidential elections to the DPP candidate.

In 2008 the KMT were back in the number one slot and with a clear majority in the Legislative Yuan as well as winning the presidential election.

The Kuomintang is a member of the International Democrat union.

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