Sun, Jul 28, 2019 - Page 3 News List

New independence party in the works

ALL ABOUT AUTONOMY:The ‘One Side, One Country Action Party’ aims to enter the legislature to provide checks and balances, but would not contend the presidential race

By Lee Hsin-fang  /  Staff reporter

Former president Chen Shui-bian holds up a copy of his latest book at a book signing in Taichung yesterday.

Photo: Tsai Shu-yuan, Taipei Times

Following the Formosa Alliance’s transition into a political party last week, people close to former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) are working to establish another pro-Taiwanese independence party.

Founding members of the “One Side, One Country Action Party” yesterday said that they have applied to the Ministry of the Interior to register as a political party, adding that they expect the party to be officially established next month.

The party’s objective is to nominate candidates for the legislative election on Jan. 11 next year to provide checks and balances at the legislature, the members said.

The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) performance with regards to pushing a constitutional reform to rectify the nation’s official title has been disappointing and the party hopes to send “pro-Taiwan” candidates to the Legislative Yuan, they said.

They have asked former premier Yu Shyi-kun to be the party’s chairman and are awaiting his reply, the members said.

Chen on Facebook on Thursday said that he expects the party to be officially established next month “if the ruling party does not thwart or obstruct” the effort.

Chen cited two reasons for the party’s establishment: “First, the voice that says Taiwan and China are two separate countries cannot be silenced at the legislature, as it is a path that the nation should pursue,” he said.

Second, checks and balances are crucial for a democracy, and they can only be achieved by an opposition party, he said, giving an alleged smuggling attempt by China Airlines and National Security Bureau officials as an example of a lack of checks and balances.

Chen was sentenced to a 20-year jail term for corruption, but was granted medical parole in January 2015 after being diagnosed with illnesses including sleep apnea, suspected Parkinson’s disease and osteoporosis.

He did not participate in the new party’s establishment, but is viewed as its “spiritual leader,” a source from the nascent party said.

Chen initially opposed the idea of forming a pro-independence party, but now welcomes it, sources said.

Asked if the party would support President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) re-election bid, the sources said it would, as the DPP is a “local administration,” but added that if some supporters are reluctant to vote for the DPP again, that would be totally understandable.

The new party is setting its sights on the legislative — rather than the presidential — election, the sources said.

However, Chen’s son, DPP Kaohsiung City Councilor Chen Chih-chung (陳致中), is reserved about the party’s establishment, saying the move might be “untimely.”

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