Wed, Aug 07, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Ko party petition clears legal step

By Hung Jui-chin and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

An online petition demanding that the Taiwan People’s Party change its title to avoid confusion with a historic political party is pictured yesterday.

Photo: Hung Jui-ching, Taipei Times

A petition to block Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) from registering his political party under the name Taiwan People’s Party (台灣民眾黨) passed its initial legal review, the online public policy platform showed yesterday.

From its launch on Friday last week to press time last night, the petition had gathered 1,115 signatures. It must collect 5,000 signatures by Oct. 5 to require the government to issue an official response, according to join.gov.tw.

The petition’s sponsor, former Tainan deputy mayor Tseng Hsu-cheng (曾旭正), has said that Ko should not be allowed to “muddle history” by reusing the name of the party that Taiwanese democracy pioneer Chiang Wei-shui (蔣渭水) founded in 1927.

Following yesterday’s announcement, Tseng on Facebook called on the public to sign the petition, saying that the news was a “gift” for Ko after his convention to found the party was officially formed earlier yesterday.

“A politician has proposed registering a new political party under the name Taiwan People’s Party, while bearing no resemblance in purpose, spirit or character to the Taiwan People’s Party of the past century or its founder, Chiang,” the petition reads. “It is deeply inappropriate to allow the machinations of politicians to mislead innocent members of the public in their understanding of history.”

The Ministry of Culture should explain the historical relevance of Chiang’s movement, while the Ministry of the Interior should amend the Political Parties Act (政黨法) to close the loophole that would allow Ko to use the name, it says.

The petition would “protect a historical and cultural heritage from pollution” and “ensure that the farcical plagiarism of history by political parties will not repeat itself,” the organizers said.

Under the act, the name or abbreviation of a political party should not be similar or identical to a political party that has already been established, have potential for confusion with a governmental or nonprofit organization, or incite discrimination or hatred.

It also stipulates that the responsible agency should establish a body to arbitrate “doubts or concerns ... regarding a political party’s disciplinary actions, name, abbreviation or emblem, or other related matters.”

The Ministry of the Interior would convene a committee to review Ko’s application if the petition obtains the necessary number of signatures, a source said on condition of anonymity.

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