Former Green Party Taiwan (GPT) secretary-general Pan Han-shen (潘翰聲) and his brother Pan Han-chiang (潘翰疆) founded the Tree Party (樹黨) last month, and nominated 21 candidates for the Nov. 29 nine-in-one elections, saying that the party would represent the interests of trees and wildlife that do not have the ability or right to vote.
The Pan brothers are familiar faces in Taiwan’s environmental movement, while Pan Han-shen has also run in Taipei city councilor and legislative elections representing the GPT.
However, this time around they founded their own party on Aug. 26, with the objectives to run in the upcoming elections and represent the interests of trees, wildlife and the nation’s youth.
“In recent years, global climate change and the heat-island effect have caused temperature increases that destroy quality of life in the city,” Pan Han-shen said while explaining the idea behind the party.
“For instance, nighttime temperatures in Taipei have gone up by three degrees in the past three decades, which is four times higher than the global average. In addition, fast development have left residents of Taipei with only 6m2 of green land per person, which is much lower than all major Asian cities besides Hong Kong,” Pan Han-shen added.
“Therefore, our goal is not only to break the blue-green political deadlock, but to also break the destruction of trees and wildlife,” he said.
The party has nominated 21 candidates to run for borough warden, village warden, township mayor and city councilor positions in Taipei, New Taipei City, Yilan, Hsinchu, Miaoli and Nantou counties, as well as in Greater Taichung, Chiayi and Greater Tainan.
However, the party’s Taipei City councilor nominee, Kao Yi-hsin (高毅心), 23, was ineligible to be registered as a candidate, since the minimum age threshold for the position is 26.
Pan Ching-chu (潘靜竹), the party’s Greater Tainan city councilor candidate, admitted that it is a big challenge for her to fight for election, given the political environment.
“However, through running in the election I would also advertise my ideas for more transparency in politics and break the polarized blue-green politics in the nation,” she said.
Reacting to the founding of the Tree Party and its nomination of candidates, the GPT said in a statement issued yesterday that it has asked Pan Han-shen and Pan Han-chiang to withdraw from the party.
However, it added that it highly supports the Tree Party’s ideas and would not rule out the possibility of the two parties collaborating in future.
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