The New Power Party (NPP) staged a mass rally last night, spotlighting legislative candidates’ families as the electoral campaign entered its final week.
More than 1,000 mostly young people gathered along Jinan Road next to the Legislative Yuan Building in Taipei, with most members squatting along the pavement in a manner reminiscent of the 2014 Sunflower movement, which saw massive crowds surround the building in support of student activists who occupied the legislature’s main chamber to protest the government’s handling of a trade in services agreement with China.
The NPP, whose membership and leadership include numerous social activists, has sought to portray itself as the standard bearer for the movement in the upcoming legislative elections.
A skit on the “NPP’s story” made liberal use of the movement’s symbols, with youth another key theme of the rally’s performances, which included “Young Dream” and “Dancing Youth.”
Posts with the names of the party’s legislator-at-large candidates on them lined the road, while several large statues of progressively younger adults and children occupied the middle.
The party’s logo reflected off the stomach of a large statue of a pregnant woman that occupied the main stage at the street’s end. Candidates were introduced between performances.
The mother of Taichung district candidate Hung Tzu-yung (洪慈庸) said she initially opposed Hung’s candidacy because of concern for her daughter’s well-being, only agreeing after realizing her candidacy was necessary to address systemic problems similar to those that led the death of her brother, army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘).
Hung rose to prominence during demonstrations for reform in the military justice system, which followed her brother’s death from abuse during military service.
Hsinchu City legislative district candidate Chiu Hsien-chih’s (邱顯智) wife, Huang Wan-ting (黃琬婷), talked about her support for Chiu in taking on numerous pro bono cases for social activists, including prominent Sunflower students, while Doris Yeh (葉湘怡), the wife of legislative candidate Freddy Lim (林昶佐) in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華), said Lim’s candidacy was a natural extension of the political ideas contained in the music created by their metal band, Chthonic.
Candidates’ speeches focused on the need for reform and social justice, while taking shots at the governing Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
“KMT Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) has the nerve to say that any man who has hair longer than a woman is mentally abnormal,” said Lim, who sports a long pony tail. “We have to work hard because we don’t just want progressive forces to gain a majority, we want to marginalize an already fossilized KMT.”
Nobel laureate Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲) and director Wu Nien-Jen (吳念真) were also slated to address the crowd at the rally.
Meanwhile, the competing “third force” Green Party-Social Democratic Party Alliance is scheduled to host its own campaign rally at the intersection of Taipei’s Dunhua and Anhe roads today.
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