ELECTIONS 2022/New Power Party mired in internal friction after election defeat

11/28/2022 09:40 PM
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New Power Party Legislators Chiu Hsien-chih (center) and Claire Wang (second right), along with its policy-making Committee members Tseng Wei-kai (left), Chen Meng-hsiu (second left), and Lee Chao-li. CNA photo Nov. 28, 2022
New Power Party Legislators Chiu Hsien-chih (center) and Claire Wang (second right), along with its policy-making Committee members Tseng Wei-kai (left), Chen Meng-hsiu (second left), and Lee Chao-li. CNA photo Nov. 28, 2022

Taipei, Nov. 28 (CNA) The New Power Party (NPP), the smallest of four political parties with seats in the Legislature, is facing serious internal dissent and a threat to its future survival after losing seats in Saturday's local government elections around Taiwan.

None of the party's three nominees running for city or county chief positions and only three of its eight city and county councilors seeking for reelection won their contests.

In all, the NPP, which was set up in 2015, took only six city and county councilor seats nationwide out of 910 up for grabs, 10 less than the 16 seats won in the 2018 polls.

By comparison, the 2019-founded Taiwan People's Party (TPP) won the Hsinchu City mayor race and 14 city and council seats around Taiwan.

In addition, former Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌), one of the NPP's few well-known figures, angered some NPP supporters by campaigning at a rally for independent Taipei mayor candidate Huang Shan-shan (黃珊珊), who had the overt support of Taipei Mayor and TPP founder Ko Wen-je (柯文哲).

Former Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (left) "bumps into" independent Taipei mayoral candidate Huang Shan-shan (second right) at a street market in Beitou on Nov. 17. CNA file photo
Former Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (left) "bumps into" independent Taipei mayoral candidate Huang Shan-shan (second right) at a street market in Beitou on Nov. 17. CNA file photo

At a press conference Monday, five of the NPP's 15 Policy-making Committee members reiterated their post-election decision to resign from their positions on the committee and insisted they would reject any attempt to keep them on.

Legislators Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智) and Claire Wang (王婉諭), along with Chen Meng-hsiu (陳孟秀), Tseng Wei-kai (曾威凱), and Lee Chao-li (李兆立), removed their yellow vests showing the words "policy-making members" in Chinese to demonstrate their determination to resign.

Calling for the resignation of the entire committee, the highest decision-making body of the party, Chiu urged that a new slate of members be elected to regain people's trust and prepare for "a battle for the survival of the party" in the 2024 national elections.

The move was triggered when party chair Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) hinted in a social media post following a Policy-making Committee meeting Sunday night that she would stay on as NPP leader after previously promising to resign, and she confirmed her decision Monday night.

She said she accepted some members' request to stay on while asking all members to allow her to do so, arguing that the party could not afford to have the committee resign en masse at this time with by-elections coming up and the need to elect a new committee when it completes its current term in less than three months.

The NPP "should not fall in a gap period because of a new [committee] election" now, the 63-year-old Chen said.

By-elections are set to be held for two legislative seats -- one in Taipei, the other in Nantou County -- after Kuomintang
By-elections are set to be held for two legislative seats -- one in Taipei, the other in Nantou County -- after Kuomintang's Chiang Wan-an and Hsu Shu-hua won the race for Taipei mayo and Nantou County magistrate, respectively.

At Sunday's meeting, Chiu, Wang and other committee makers announced their resignations, criticizing the party's central leadership for failing to support NPP candidates in the just-concluded elections.

Disappointed with Chen's apparent withdrawal of her resignation Sunday night, the outgoing committee members on Monday described Sunday's committee meeting as merely an attempt to consolidate the party's "concentrated leadership."

Wang said Monday that as the NPP's top decision-making body, the Policy-making Committee should be run based on consensuses achieved among its 15 members.

Increasingly, however, the party's approaches were decided by the "central" leaders, the party chair and secretary-general, and discussions at meetings were often restricted by them, Wang said, implying that this had jeopardized the party's campaign strategies.

In particular, Chiu said, when the issue of Huang Kuo-chang campaigning for Huang Shan-shan was brought up, Chen decided to put it off until after the election.

That only exacerbated the damage caused by Huang Kuo-chang's appearance for a candidate of another party, further blurring the party's identification and what it stood for and hurting NPP Taipei city councilor efforts to get votes, Chiu said.

(By Kuo Chien-shen, Wang Cheng-chung and Elizabeth Hsu)

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The New Power Party only wins six council seats in Saturday
The New Power Party only wins six council seats in Saturday's local government elections, down from 16 in 2018.
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