New Power Party (NPP) Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) yesterday said that he would leave the party to support President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) re-election bid and expressed the hope that his departure would bring change to the party.
He said that he would run for re-election in Taipei’s Zhongzheng-Wanhua electoral district as an independent and would work with like-minded people across party lines to ensure that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) does not win a legislative majority.
Lim made the announcement immediately after the NPP’s decisionmaking committee held an extraordinary meeting to discuss its strategies for next year’s presidential and legislative elections.
Photo: Tu Chien-jung, Taipei Times
Before the meeting, several party members had launched an internal petition calling for the NPP to rally behind Tsai, a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) member, in the presidential election.
Some NPP members believe that the party should conduct a poll to determine its stance on the presidential election, because many supporters are fans of Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), Lim said.
“Four years ago, the NPP’s stance was that it would support Tsai for the sake of Taiwan’s sovereignty and at the same time work hard to keep her administration in check. Why can we not do that this time?” he asked.
He said that for years he has tried to resolve differences within the party about its strategies, but no consensus has been reached.
As the elections are just five months away, “if I cannot convince the party, I must move forward on my own path,” Lim said.
To ensure that the KMT does not gain a majority in the legislature, he said he would also try to coordinate with all pan-green parties to build a system in which there is only one pan-green candidate in each legislative constituency.
Asked if he would join the DPP or Ko’s new party, Lim said that he had no plans to join either.
Shortly after Lim’s announcement, NPP Legislator Hung Tzu-yung (洪慈庸) revealed that she and Lim had discussed leaving the party together.
“If things come to a point where a pro-China party could return to power and I must choose, I would leave without hesitation,” she said.
However, for now she would stay with the NPP to try and make a difference, she said.
Despite having different views on the party’s strategies, NPP members share the goal of keeping a local party in power and making the NPP “the key minority” in the legislature,” Hung said.
The committee has decided to work to ensure that the nation continues to be run by a local party and discuss with friendly parties about collaborating in the legislative elections, NPP Chairman Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智) said.
Chiu said that he had told Lim the committee would align with Lim’s goal, but Lim walked out of the meeting before it ended.
The NPP would not support a potential Ko bid for the presidency, because it is opposed to his cross-strait approach that “people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are one family,” Chiu said, adding that the chance of the NPP nominating its own presidential candidate was “very small.”
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