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Weeks long drama continues as another NPP lawmaker leaves party

2019/08/13 18:22:25

New Power Party lawmaker Hung Tzu-yung

Taipei, Aug. 13 (CNA) The ongoing drama within the opposition New Power Party (NPP) continued Tuesday as another of its lawmakers announced she is leaving the party, a day after the party's chairman resigned to take responsibility for the internal turmoil.

Hung Tzu-yung (洪慈庸), who represents an electoral district in Taichung, said Tuesday afternoon she is leaving the party to run as an independent in the January 2020 legislative elections.

The decision was made due to her disagreement with some NPP members regarding the party's future path.

It has been debating whether to maintain its founding spirit as a third force between Taiwan's two major political powers, the pro-Taiwan independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the China-friendly opposition Kuomintang (KMT), or simply throw its weight behind the ruling DPP.

Hung felt the party should work with the DPP in the legislative elections and support President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in her re-election bid.

Hung's decision mirrored that of her colleague Freddy Lim (林昶佐), who quit the party on Aug. 1, and it left the NPP with only three seats in the 113-seat Legislative Yuan and 15 local councilors nationwide.

On Monday, NPP Chairman Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智) tendered his resignation as party leader to take 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 included Lim's Aug. 1 departure, and the party's decision to revoke the membership of lawmaker Kawlo Iyun (高潞以用) earlier this month following allegations of abuse of power to obtain NT$4 million (US$128,721) in government subsidies.

Hung made her announcement after attending a NPP meeting during which its 10 participants all agreed to jointly ask Chiu to stay as chairman instead of holding another election to choose a new one.

The meeting also resolved that the party's ongoing dialogue with the DPP on possible cooperation in upcoming legislative and presidential elections in 2020 would be suspended until Chiu agreed to come back as the party's chair. Chiu did not attend the meeting.

Hung, who supports dialogue with the DPP, said Tuesday she was extremely disappointed over the decision to suspend such dialogue and decided to leave the party, but stressed she had no intention to join the DPP at this time.

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

The Sunflower Movement was a 24-day occupation of Taiwan's Legislature in March 2014 that protested the lack of transparency in a trade-in-services agreement that was signed by Taiwan and China but never ratified in Taiwan because of the movement.

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 very much aligned with those of the pan-green camp, and the NPP cooperated with the DPP against the KMT in the 2016 elections.

It won five legislative seats, giving it the third most of any political party.

(By Liu Kuan-ting, Evelyn Kao and Joseph Yeh)
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