KMT Chairman 'Shamed' by Defeat
Ma resigned as head of the Kuomintang following the party's humiliation in local elections on Saturday — seen as a key barometer ahead of the 2016 election for the island's new leader.
In a somber meeting earlier in the day, televised live, Ma bowed deeply as a sign of apology as he formally presented his resignation to senior party officials.
"The KMT suffered an unprecedented defeat. I apologize to the supporters as the chairman ... I feel shamed," he said.
"I must shoulder the utmost responsibility for the defeat and today I announce my resignation to the Central Standing Committee," he added.
Ma will continue to serve as Taiwan leader until 2016 when he must step down after serving two terms, but observers say his influence within the party will now be severely diminished.
His resignation as chairman, however, allows the KMT to begin the difficult task of reshaping itself, which began yesterday with the announcement of a new chief administrator.
Previous deputy chief administrator Mao Chi-kuo will replace KMT chairman 'shamed' by defeat Jiang Yi-huah, who resigned on Saturday.
"We will remember that Taiwan belongs to all people and the future belongs to the new generations," Mao said yesterday.
Relations with the Chinese mainland have warmed since Ma was elected in 2008 on a platform of improving cross-Strait ties and reviving the island's slowing economy.
Ma, who announced his imminent resignation on Tuesday, urged the party to remember the "painful lesson" of the polls result.
The KMT lost five of Taiwan's six large municipalities in the local elections. New Taipei was the only municipality it retained.
The city's mayor Eric Chu — who only won his re-election by a narrow margin — is one of those tipped to take over the party leadership.
The Democratic Progressive Party took 47.5 percent of the votes cast across the island on Saturday, with the KMT on 40.7 percent.
DPP Chairman Tsai Ing-wen yesterday thanked voters and said the party would not "relax" after its election victory.
barometer: n.气压计； 晴雨表； 显示变化的事物；
diminish: v.（使）减少，缩小； 减弱…的权势；
deputy: adj.副的； 代理的
revive: v.使复活，使恢复； 使振奋，复原； 使再生
imminent: adj.（通常指不愉快的事）即将发生的； 迫切的，
municipality: n.自治市； 市政当局