Thu, Aug 03, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Pensioners planning new party pose threat to KMT

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

National Civil Servant Association president Harry Lee (李來希) yesterday announced plans to establish a new political party for pensioners, potentially threatening the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) grip on a key constituency.

“We need to establish a new party because neither the governing nor the opposition parties are worthy of our trust, so we need to go our own way and fight for our own rights,” Lee said.

He said that an online party group established several days ago already has thousands of members, with plans to formally establish an organization at a Ketagalan Boulevard ceremony as soon as membership reaches 50,000.

Lee added that the proposed party’s platform would have four key planks: opposing independence, defending the Republic of China constitution, protecting rights and promoting national development.

Following the passage of pension reforms for civil servants and teachers in June, the opposition campaign has shifted to legal and electoral battles.

Lee dismissed talk that establishing a new party would guarantee continuing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) dominance by undercutting KMT support among civil servants and teachers.

“Today’s KMT is different from when it was founded and relocated to Taiwan. It has changed to become an indigenous and factionalized party that is fundamentally different from what we joined in the past, and our establishing a new party will not cause any fundamental change to its make-up,” he said.

While pushing for the founding of a new party, Lee said that he would not necessarily serve as party chairman.

Because the party has yet to be officially established, expressing support for it does not violate the principle of executive neutrality that applies to civil servants such as himself, he said.

The party would need leaders from all quarters, including military personnel and teachers, he added.

National Federation of Teachers’ Unions director-general Huang Yao-nan (黃耀南) said that his group has no plans to participate in the proposed party, but would instead focus on targeting the DPP in upcoming elections.

Huang said that the death of People First Party (PFP) Deputy Secretary-General Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) has led to renewed hopes that the PFP caucus would team up with its KMT colleagues and send the pension reform legislation directly to the Council of Grand Justices to rule on its constitutionality.

PFP support is necessary to achieve the number of legislators required to request a constitutional interpretation, but the party has so far withheld its support from a KMT proposal.

A Control Yuan review of whether to request a constitutional interpretation on the issue is ongoing, he added.

A Military, Civil Servants and Teachers Alliance Party ran in last year’s legislative elections, but won only 0.7 percent of the legislators-at-large party vote.

Additional reporting by CNA

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