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NPP chairman announces resignation (update)

2019/08/12 18:29:20

Taipei, Aug. 12 (CNA) New Power Party (NPP) Chairman Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智) announced Monday his resignation as party leader to take political responsibility for turmoil in the party over the past few days and for causing concern and disappointment among party supporters.

The turmoil Chiu was referring to includes NPP lawmaker Freddy Lim's (林昶佐) announcement Aug. 1 that he is leaving the party to run as an independent in the upcoming legislative elections, and the party's decision to revoke the membership of Legislator Kawlo Iyun (高潞以用) earlier this month following allegations of abuse of power to obtain government subsidies totaling NT$4 million (US$128,721).

Chiu said at a press conference that since he took over as party leader in March, he and his team have been endeavoring to safeguard Taiwan's sovereignty and uphold fairness and justice.

As a founding member, Chiu said, he knows there must be a third force other than the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT).

Chiu said that after he assumed the post, he had hoped he could cement a consensus on the party's future direction by seeking common ground while resolving differences through dialogue and protecting the party's autonomy under the premise of upholding Taiwan's sovereignty.

However, Lim's leaving the party shows he has been unable to convince some party members of his ability to reach a consensus, for which he should shoulder political responsibility.

Lim said when announcing his decision to leave the party because the NPP was unable to reach a consensus on the party's future direction that he has decided to "step forward in the right direction."

He also said the NPP has been unable to agree on whether the party should throw its support behind the re-election bid of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the DPP.

The NPP is facing the problem ahead of the 2020 presidential election of whether it should keep its founding spirit as a third force between Taiwan's two major political powers or throw its weight behind the DPP.

Meanwhile, Chiu said he should also be held responsible for Kawlo's case, in which the NPP decided to revoke her membership -- which would result in the loss of her legislator-at-large seat -- in light of the fact that her alleged conduct violated the party's rules and regulations and tarnished its image.

NPP spokesman Lee Chao-li (李兆立) said the new chairman will be elected by members of the party's decision making committee.

The NPP, which emerged from the 2014 Sunflower movement, was founded in January 2015.

The party is a part of a political phenomenon known as the "third force," in which new political parties, unaligned with the traditional DPP-led pan-green or KMT-led pan-blue coalitions, sought to provide an alternative in Taiwanese politics.

Nevertheless, the NPP's policies are much aligned with those of the pan-green camp, so that the NPP cooperated with the DPP against the KMT in the 2016 elections.

It won five legislative seats, giving it the third-highest number of legislative seats.

With Lim's departure, the NPP now has four seats in the 113-seat Legislative Yuan and 16 local councilors nationwide.

(By Wang Yang-yu and Evelyn Kao)
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