Cooperation among candidates from smaller political parties showed a glimmer of hope yesterday, as the New Power Party’s (NPP) Freddy Lim (林昶佐) withdrew from the legislative race in Taipei’s Daan District (大安) to make way for Fan Yun (范雲) of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
In a dramatic turn of events, Lim, frontman of metal band Chthonic, declared his withdrawal within an hour of Fan officially announcing her bid for legislator yesterday morning.
Lim said he would continue his legislative campaign in another constituency in Taipei, adding that his decision would be finalized by Thursday.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
He added that withdrawing from the race could prevent the ruling “party-state interest structure” from reaping the benefits of disunity among minor parties with progressive agendas.
“Our goal has always been to bring together progressive forces and win the election,” Lim said. “In expressing openness and goodwill [toward potential allies], we require more action instead of just talk.”
The move was seen as an attempt at reconciliation, as both parties emerged from a split in the Taiwan Citizen’s Union activist group after its members encountered differences over legislative nomination mechanisms.
Earlier in the morning, Fan made official her bid to enter the legislative race for Daan, confirming months of speculation.
Along with other members of the SDP — which is to be officially launched by the end of this month — Fan vowed to introduce a new political culture centered on the public discussion of policy-oriented goals.
She said that the nation’s politics were blighted by collusion between large corporations and politicians, while the needs of underprivileged groups were constantly ignored.
Fan, a professor of sociology at National Taiwan University, has more than two decades of experience in social activism, including advocacy for women’s rights and supporting pro-democracy student movements.
As both parties were launched by veteran social activists and count prominent supporters of Taiwanese independence among their ranks, the NPP and SDP are more likely to compete for pan-green voters who lean toward the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
However, the two nascent parties have adopted markedly different attitudes toward the presidential election, which is to be held concurrently with the legislative elections in January next year.
Fan said yesterday that the SDP would not endorse any presidential candidate, as the SDP was launched precisely to voice dissatisfaction toward both major parties.
In contrast, NPP founder and human rights lawyer Lin Feng-jeng (林?正) said that his party would eventually announce its support for a presidential candidate, as “elections are always a matter of comparison.”
While the NPP has expressed its desire to forge an alliance with the DPP, Fan said that the SDP would limit its options to other minor parties, such as the environmental issue-based Green Party.
“Any kind of cooperation should be built upon common ideals; a short-term alliance based merely on winning votes does not carry much meaning,” Fan said.
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