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“Taiwan Citizens Union” Splits, Battle-Ready for 2016 Legislative Elections

icon2015/02/25
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 “Taiwan Citizens Union” Splits, Battle-Ready for 2016 Legislative Elections

 Sources: All Taipei newspapers

February 25, 2015

The “Taiwan Citizens Union” (公民組合), one of the main organizations behind last March’s Sunflower Student Movement against the cross-Strait Services Trade Agreement, had originally planned to form a new political party. However, owing to internal divisions, key members decided to set up two separate political parties. 

In January, Lin Feng-jeng (林峰正), former executive director of the non-governmental Judicial Reform Foundation, set up the New Power Party (NPP, 時代力量). Lin should not be confused with former KMT vice chairman Lin Feng-cheng 林豐正 Lin yesterday revealed they planned to field two candidates in the 2016 legislative elections. In the Daan electoral district in Taipei City, a Blue-camp stronghold, the NPP plans to run Freddy Lim (林昶佐), the lead vocalist in the heavy metal band Chthonic and a founding member of the NPP. In the third electoral district of Taichung City, the NPP plans to field Hung Tzu-yung (洪慈庸), sister of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘), whose death in a stockade sparked a series of protests against military abuse in 2013. Hung will be running against the incumbent KMT legislator. Lin Feng-jeng stressed that his party would not rule out the possibility of cooperating with other political parties in the future. 

The other faction of the “Taiwan Citizens Union” will reportedly form another political party under the banner of “Social Democratic Party” (SDP) before the end of March. Fan Yun (范雲), principal organizer of the SDP and an associate professor of sociology at National Taiwan University, stated that the soon-to-be-formed political party aimed at “transforming the voting patterns of the public,” so it would not miss the legislative elections, scheduled for early January of 2016. 

In addition, DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen yesterday declared the DPP’s goal of winning a majority in the Legislative Yuan next year by working with other opposition forces, so the DPP would not rule out any options. 

A media commentary pointed out that even though the DPP had earlier set a precedent by cooperating with Ko Wen-je during the Taipei City Mayoral election last November, the success should be attributed to elections by single-seat districts as well as Ko’s consent to nominate one joint candidate by means of conducting public opinion polls alone. The commentary stressed that legislative elections consisted of 113 seats, so the DPP, which was currently gaining momentum, would be unlikely to yield too much to other opposition parties in order to have joint nominations. 

The commentary noted that in the last legislative elections, the DPP had only won 27 out of 75 district seats (including aboriginal districts), and many DPP members already made known their interest in running for the next Legislature after the DPP’s victory in the last November’s 9-in-1 local elections. The commentary opined that facing the founding of various new political parties ready to field candidates for the legislative elections, the DPP had to solve a dilemma of either to cooperate with, or confront, the third forces in order to form an alliance among opposition parties while embracing the hope of winning the 2016 Presidential Election and a majority in the legislative elections. 

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