The People First Party (PFP) is considering taking part in a series of protests organized by other opposition parties ahead of the May 20 presidential inauguration, but is concerned that pan-green policies could blur the focus of its appeal, sources said.
The PFP has recently received a growing number of complaints from supporters who did not vote for President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in the Jan. 14 election, sources said, with the increase in gas and electricity prices and the issue of US beef imports topping the list.
“We have received calls from people asking for forms to participate in the collecting of signatures to impeach Ma,” sources said, adding that the PFP has been considering how best to channel public discontent so as to grab the attention of the Ma administration.
The sources said that as the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) have already organized an event, staging a separate protest would just split the crowd and make less of an impact. However, PFP leaders remain concerned that working with the pan-green camp might serve to undermine the message the party wishes to send.
The pan-green camp has invited the PFP to join the DPP-led May 19 protest and has promised that none of the candidates running for DPP chairperson would speak at the rallies, sources said.
With the DPP holding an election to choose a new chairperson on May 27, the PFP feels that it might be difficult to separate the two events in the mind of the public, which could detract from the focus of the protest.
“There is just that feeling in the air,” PFP officials said.
The rally will be a large-scale event of a size the PFP would find very difficult to organize on its own. However, the party remains reluctant to commit to participating because the pan-green camp has not yet provided any specific plans for the event, sources said.
“We hope the DPP will minimize its role and avoid such issues as pardoning former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and the ‘one country, two areas (一國兩區)’ formula in the May 19 protest, making the event about public discontent in order to draw the largest possible crowd,” the PFP said.
The pan-green camp last month made several calls for Chen, currently serving a 17-and-a-half year sentence on bribery and corruption charges, to be pardoned or given extended medical leave because of his ailing health.
Commenting on the pan-green camp’s hope that PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) will speak at the rally, Soong’s aides said they opposed any such move as it would provide pan-blue pundits with ammunition against him.
Such a move might even be used as a way out for Ma in the upcoming May 20 protests, the PFP said.
Translated by Jake Chung, Staff Writer