The Legislative Yuan needs a “middle ground” force, and the People First Party (PFP) — “which is neither blue nor green” — has a key role to play in embodying that force, PFP Legislator and caucus convener Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said yesterday.
The PFP caucus had allied itself with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus in previous legislative sessions to block passage of any bills dealing with ill-gotten party assets, but in the ninth legislature it has supported such a bill.
The party’s change in its stance was influenced by the public’s will, Lee said.
During a marathon vote in the legislature that began on Monday last week, the PFP offered a proposal to adjourn the meeting and also tried to mediate between the pan-green and pan-blue camps in cross-caucus negotiations, he said.
Following the verdict from the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in a case brought by the Philippines against China over Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea, the PFP caucus also made possible the legislature’s joint statement by initiating talks among the caucuses, he said.
While the PFP caucus has performed well in terms of its responsibilities, such as motioning proposals and holding public hearings, the legislature has witnessed serious antagonism between the ruling and the opposition parties in the current session, Lee said.
“It is the first time that the Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] has been the majority party in the legislature and it is not familiar with the role. It is the same for the KMT, for whom it is a little unbearable to be the opposition for the first time,” he said. “The only thing the PFP can do is to make them sit down and talk to each other.”
PFP Legislator Chen Yi-chieh (陳怡潔) said she was disappointed by the continued blue-green dogfight, which made it almost impossible for the PFP to push important bills concerning people’s livelihoods in the extraordinary legislative session that ended on Friday.
The KMT is not prepared to be an opposition party and the DPP lacks the humility expected of a ruling party, she said.
“This is not the legislature that the public was expecting,” she said. “The PFP expects the DPP to be humble and the KMT to be an opposition party that can make a real difference.”
The PFP will continue to put forward bills related to the economy and people’s livelihoods, and work with other caucuses, Lee and Chen said.
Meanwhile, the New Power Party (NPP), which was voted into the legislature less than one year after its establishment and is the third-largest party there, has used legislative tactics and media exposure that are disproportionate to its legislative size.
The NPP was mocked as the DPP’s “wings” before January’s legislative and presidential elections, but it has gradually shaken off that image by taking a more progressive stance on labor and environmental issues.
NPP caucus convener Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said that while the DPP might say that the NPP is holding it back, the NPP could give it “leverage” by making certain bills more consistent with its ideals.
The NPP’s goal is to one day replace the KMT as the major opposition party, Hsu said.
The localization of political parties is Taiwan’s greatest guarantee of sovereignty, Hsu said.
If the NPP were to become the largest opposition party to the DPP, there would no longer be major divisions on the issue of national identity, which would force the KMT to adjust its stance, Hsu said.
Additional reporting by Yang Chun-hui
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