Sun, Apr 05, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Candidates from minor parties set sights on elections

By Lii Wen  /  Staff reporter

Amid a proliferation in the number of candidates from minor parties standing in January’s legislative elections, some have grabbed attention with their unique agendas.

Motorists’ Party of the Republic of China (MPROC) Chairperson Bryan Dong (董建一) is standing in the legislative contest for New Taipei City’s Yonghe (永和) and Zhonghe (中和) districts, which would pit him against Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Te-fu (林德福).

Founded in July last year, the MPROC advocates reforms to traffic regulations in a bid to create a friendlier environment for motorcyclists — such as lifting regulations that require motorcyclists to make two-point left turns at intersections.

Dong, who announced his candidacy in February, said that the rights of the nation’s 10 million motorcyclists have been neglected for too long, and that leaders from both major political parties have failed to address issues related to traffic safety and social welfare.

Dong might find himself competing against housing reform activist Lee Hsing-chang (李幸長), who is running as an independent in the same district. Lee is best known as the leader of the Snails Without Shells movement, a sleepout protest held on Aug. 26, 1989, against unaffordable housing, which saw more than 50,000 protesters camp out overnight on Taipei’s Zhongxiao E Road. He announced his decision to stand for election late last month, saying that he intended to continue promoting the reforms to housing policies that he first proposed 20 years ago.

The Tree Party, an environmentally focused political party founded last year after a split in the Green Party, is also set to field candidates in next year’s elections. Led by former Green Party leader Pan Han-sheng (潘翰聲), the Tree Party advocates the rights of trees, animals and underprivileged groups. Two Tree Party candidates have announced their intentions to stand in the elections — youth activist Lin Chia-yu (林佳諭) is to stand as a candidate in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華) after her unsuccessful campaign for city councilor last year, while Pan is to stand in Taipei’s Wenshan District (文山).

Lee and both Tree Party candidates have joined a new political group, the Progressive Alliance (進步連線) — a coalition of eight legislative candidates organized by Chinese Culture University professor Yao Li-ming (姚立明), who was the director of Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) mayoral campaign.

As many members of the Progressive Alliance were affiliated with Ko’s mayoral campaign last year, media commentators have branded the group “Ko’s Army.”

The group also includes former Ko campaign spokespersons Billy Pan (潘建志) and Lin Hsiao-chi (林筱淇), Taipei Clean Government Commission members Yang Shih-chiu (楊實秋) and Hsu Chin-huang (徐嶔煌) and Ko campaign consultant Liu Kun-li (劉坤鱧).

Additional reporting by CNA

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