Wed, Aug 26, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Green Party Taiwan issues list of legislative candidates

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

From left, Chan Shun-kuei, Chang Li-fen, Lee Ken-cheng and Victoria Hsu, the first four legislator-at-large candidates nominated by the Green Party Taiwan as part of the “Green-SDP Alliance,” raise their fists at a news conference announcing their campaigns in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times

The Green Party Taiwan yesterday announced four legislator-at-large candidates for next year’s January legislative elections, while the Social Democratic Party (SDP) plans to nominate more candidates next month as part of a “Green-SDP Alliance.”

The four candidates are Green Party Taiwan co-convener Lee Ken-cheng (李根政), Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights CEO Victoria Hsu (許秀雯), veteran labor activist Chang Li-fun (張麗芬) and lawyer Thomas Chan (詹順貴).

However, the Green Party Taiwan added that it still needs to hold hearings at its local chapters to communicate with party members before ranking its legislator-at-large list, which it plans to re-rank after factoring in candidates to be nominated by the SDP next month.

Shouting slogans, the four candidates vowed to introduce a new opposition force to the legislature’s bipartisan politics by tapping into their collective experience campaigning for environmental protection and labor rights, as well as the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights movement.

Lee said that both the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) favor business conglomerates through the deregulation of environmental laws and the promotion of industries that pollute heavily and consume large amounts of energy.

Lee said there are few lawmakers who speak up for the environment and minorities, adding a new opposition party in the legislature is urgently needed to stand firm on a sustainable and localized environmental and economic platform.

Adding that a marriage equality bill has been mothballed by the legislature for almost two years since it passed its first reading in 2013, Hsu said that both the KMT and the DPP have sided with anti-LGBT camps in an attempt to win votes, paying little attention to gay rights.

A progressive force other than the two major political parties is needed to fight for the rights of LGBT groups, Hsu said, adding that her policies would be structured according to the principles of gender equality and a sustainable and fair economy.

Chang said the nation’s economic gains have only benefited large businesses, and that both the KMT and DPP have been striving for economic growth, but have paradoxically contributed to deteriorating working conditions.

Workers need to stand up against the oligarchy of major parties and businesses and unite with progressive powers to effect changes in the legislature, Chang said.

A long-time environmental activist, Chan said that social movements and his personal involvement have contributed to the creation of several acts and enactment of legal reforms.

He proposed that the alliance, should it win enough votes to gain a political party subsidy and legislative seats, divert one-third of the subsidy and one-third of its legislative assistants to social movements and empowerment programs.

SDP Secretary-General Urda Yen (嚴婉玲) said her party would nominate at least two legislator-at-large candidates from the fields of social welfare and culture next month.

In other developments, SDP legislative candidates yesterday met with Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) to discuss possible collaboration if they are elected to the legislature.

SDP convener Fan Yun (范雲) said Ko’s belief that politics should “transcend the pan-blue and pan-green camps” was similar to the party’s own ideas, adding that the party hoped Ko would provide his input on how to live up to that ideal.

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