Sun, Apr 22, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Feature: Civic groups push agendas on nation's political parties

FOR THE PEOPLE Various advocacy groups are putting pressure on the parties to select candidates who have a proven track record of involvement in social movements

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Meanwhile, 26 environmental protection groups, women's rights groups and the National Teachers' Association were pushing another campaign to recommend "good apples" for the parties' legislative nomination lists.

These groups have publicized a number of criteria which they would use as a reference to decide whether to recommend a candidate.

Among the criteria are that a candidates did not resort to "verbal or physical violence" during their prior legislative term and that they did not make any comments that would arouse ethnic tensions or gender discrimination.

Those who are more concerned with public affairs and disadvantaged groups or used to be active in social movements are strongly recommended to political parties, campaign documents said.

The groups recently came up with their first nomination list, which included the DPP's Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄), Lee Wen-shung (李文忠) and Lo Wen-chia (羅文嘉), the KMT's Wang Yu-ting (王昱婷), Lee Jih-chu (李紀珠), Shyu Jong-shyoung (徐中雄) and Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛).

Shen, Lee and Lo were also on a separate list drawn up by a group of DPP grassroots supporters who would like to see the three "eliminated" from the DPP primary because of their criticism of the party when the party was facing challenges such as last year's "state affairs fund" scandal.

Chu Tseng-hong (朱增宏), president of the Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan and one of the major forces behind the campaign, said the campaign aims to encourage undecided voters to vote for the nominees.

"We are unable to influence grassroots supporters in the pan-blue and pan-green camps, but we can at least call on swing voters [to vote for qualified legislative nominees]," Chu said by telephone earlier last week.

In the past, civic movements tended to discourage voters from voting for disqualified legislators, but the campaign decided to adopt a different strategy by coming up with a recommendation list this year, Chu said.

"The blue-versus-green political opposition and both camps' ignorance of public issues lately have been the worst [in recent years]," he said, adding that prior legislative and county chief elections have also seen voter apathy.

Detailed measures for the campaign to apply pressure on political parties, however, remained under discussion, Chu said, adding that they would take a different approach following the primaries.

Jou Yi-cheng (周奕成), chief executive of the Generations Forum -- an organization of DPP "Young Turks" -- said it would be "difficult" for the two campaigns to effectively influence the DPP's legislative nomination.

As major party officials are preoccupied with the elections, "they seem unconcerned with the party's development," he said.

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