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Another political party formed in Taiwan ahead of 2020 elections

2019/08/24 21:45:26

Taipei, Aug. 24 (CNA) The Taiwan Renewal Party (台灣維新黨) was launched in Taipei on Saturday less than five months before Taiwan's presidential and legislative elections, advocating political, economic and social reforms as its main platform.

At Saturday afternoon's meeting before the launch, former Tainan County Magistrate Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智) was elected as the party's convener, its de facto leader.

Though thought to be aligned with the "pan-green" camp, which leans toward Taiwan independence, the party is opposed to some of the campaign maneuvering of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which is the biggest force among pan-green parties.

"The DPP plays on 'the anxiety of subjugation' (if a pro-China candidate wins) in the election campaign. But for me, Taiwan is relatively safe," Su said in an interview after the launch. "What Taiwan really needs is institutional reform."

According to handouts on the party's platform, the new party is calling for a decentralized tax system to encourage local governments to lure investment and a more comprehensive social welfare system in which the government helps raise children, provides housing and takes care of the elderly.

Su also maintained that a "Taiwan consensus" has already been formed among the Taiwanese people, which is that Taiwan's sovereignty, survival, security, democracy and freedom will be determined by its 23 million people.

On the identity of Taiwan, which has been a subject of debate in Taiwan for a long time, Su said "the Republic of China (ROC) is Taiwan, which includes the main island of Taiwan and the offshore islands of Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu. And Taiwan is the ROC."

"Taiwan should reconcile with the ROC, and the ROC should reconcile with Taiwan," he said.

Taiwan's formal name is the Republic of China, but many in the DPP and the pro-independence movement reject that name and avoid using it.

The party will nominate at least 10 legislative candidates in the 2020 election, Su said, but added that he himself will not run for any position.

There was speculation, however, that Su may try to join forces with the new party formed by Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) -- the Taiwan People's Party -- and the budding alliance Ko is forming with tycoon Terry Gou (郭台銘).

Su attended the launch of Ko's party, and Ko and Gou sent flowers to congratulate Su on the formation of his party, sparking thoughts of possible cooperation.

When asked about a possible partnership with Ko, Gou and Ko's party, Su said the values espoused by Ko's party were not yet clear, but he hoped small parties could cooperate on certain issues.

As to whether the Taiwan Renewal Party will support President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in the 2020 elections, Su did not answer directly but said his platform seems more in line with Gou's.

This is the fourth political party formed in preparation for the 2020 election in recent months that has drawn public attention.

The others are the Taiwan Action Party Alliance (TAPA) and the Formosa Alliance, both considered pan-green, and the Taiwan People's Party founded by Ko.

(By Emerson Lim)
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