By Michelle YUN
The Kuomintang party dominated Taiwan for decades with its wealth and an iron fist -- but now it is battling to keep a foothold in the island's shifting political landscape.
Founded by Chinese revolutionary Sun Yat-sen and later led by nationalist Chiang Kai-shek, the KMT is at its lowest ebb in its more than 100-year history as it prepares to select a new leader Saturday.
Cultivating warmer relations with rival Beijing -- which still sees self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory -- backfired with a sceptical public that is increasingly embracing an independent Taiwanese identity.
As a result, the KMT lost the presidency last year and, for the first time, its control of parliament.
It vowed to reform, but has since been riven by infighting and targeted by a government probe into its extensive assets which has seen its accounts frozen and hundreds of jobs axed.
While it is still the main opposition party, analysts say it is struggling to find direction.
"The demographic shifts in Taiwan do not bode well for the KMT," said Timothy Rich, an assistant professor of political science at the Western Kentucky University.
More Taiwanese are opposed to eventual unification with the mainland, Rich says.
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