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China Times: New Power Party should clearly define its position

2016/01/18 16:34:13

The New Power Party (NPP, 時代力量), a party advocating change that emerged from the 2014 Sunflower Student Movement, won five seats in Jan. 16's legislative elections to become the third-largest party in the Legislature.

The newly elected legislators of the NPP will face challenges in fundamentally changing themselves once they are sworn in on Feb. 1. As political advocates, they can spend their time criticizing government policies. After becoming lawmakers, however, they will have to bear the responsibility of supervising the government as representatives of the people.

First of all, the NPP has to define its position as to whether it wants to be a faction of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) or a powerful opposition party.

The DPP won both the presidency and an absolute majority in the Legislature for the first time in history by taking 68 of 113 legislative seats in the general elections on Jan. 16.

In fact, the NPP's rise to power could be partially attributed to clandestine assistance given by the DPP, making it difficult for the party to separate itself from the DPP.

If the nascent party does not distinguish itself from the new ruling party, it will be unable to establish its own identity and autonomy and will eventually evaporate as a result.

The DPP is destined to enjoy one-party political dominance after it won both the presidential and legislative elections. In such an environment, opposition parties in the Legislature should use all necessary means in carrying out their mandate to oversee the government in order to enhance the quality of Taiwan's democracy and prevent any abuse of power. This is why the NPP should play the role of an opposition party in the Legislature.

As a matter of fact, during the election campaign, the NPP advocated the idea of letting the people rule and creating a new professional and transparent Legislature.

If the NPP wants to convince the people of its sincerity in promoting legislative reforms, it should bring forth an agenda that is in the interests of all the people.

In addition, the NPP has to reverse its image of being anti-Kuomintang, anti-business, anti-China and anti-businesses operating in China given that Taiwan cannot avoid engagement with mainland China.

Moreover, the families of several NPP members have investments in China, showing their complicated economic links with the mainland.

We urge the NPP to heed Taiwan's mainstream public opinion and expectations of normal development of cross-strait relations and to cherish the results of cross-strait exchanges by giving up a radical approach that could hurt cross-strait ties. Editorial abstract - Jan.18, 2016

(By Evelyn Kao)