Fri, Jan 22, 2016 - Page 3 News List

All TSU staff laid off after legislature losses

REINVENTION:After suffering defeat in the elections, the TSU looks set to disband, however the party’s ‘spiritual leader’ Lee Teng-hui has urged the party to keep trying

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) on Wednesday night announced plans to lay off all of its employees, as the New Power Party (NPP) begins plans to set up offices nationwide.

The TSU said in a news release that its employees are to be laid off to give a future party chairman “complete space if he decides to continue.”

The party said that former chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) had already submitted his resignation following disappointing results in Saturday’s legislative elections, with secretary-general Lin Chih-chia (林志嘉) and former legislator Cheng Cheng-lung (程振隆) to handle party affairs until a new chairman is appointed.

Cheng is said to be providing the party with transitional financial support.

Party secretary-general Lin Chih-chia (林志嘉) was quoted in the Chinese-language Apple Daily as saying that a total of 22 people would be laid off. The contract for the party’s offices near the Legislative Yuan are due to expire at the end of March, he said.

The party’s decision came after it lost all of its legislative seats in Saturday’s elections and failed to cross the threshold required to receive government subsidies, leading to rumors that it is considering disbanding.

Lin said that a majority of party officials in an internal meeting felt it should not disband, adding that Huang had sought an audience with the party’s “spiritual leader” — former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) — on the party’s future when he submitted his resignation.

While Lee — who is recovering from a minor stroke — declined to meet with Huang, he reportedly urged for the party to continue and reinvent itself in a letter, volunteering Cheng to help with its financial difficulties.

Meanwhile, the New Power Party (NPP)— which won five seats — yesterday said that it was planning a major staff expansion, with a focus on establishing regional offices to begin building up a national grassroots network.

“We hope to have more local party members and because prior to the elections, it was almost impossible for us to engage in cultivation, this will be our focus after the election,” NPP Secretary-General Chen Hui-min (陳惠敏) said, adding that the party would establish permanent offices in Kaohsiung, Taichung, Hsinchu and Hualien.

With more than 6 percent of the national vote, the party is eligible for more than NT$37 million (US$1.1 million) in government subsidies every year and plans to move into new offices closer to the Legislative Yuan, she said.

The party’s five seats also make it eligible to establish a legislative caucus, providing it with additional funding to hire 10 to 14 aides to help draft policy proposals, she said, adding that individual legislators would also receive additional government subsidies and funding.

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