TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Founded in Kaohsiung just three years ago, the Taiwan Statebuilding Party (TSP) aims to replace the Kuomintang (KMT) party as the second wheel in Taiwan's politics no matter how long it might take.
One of several minority parties striving to win seats in the Legislative Yuan in 2020, the TSP is accumulating support with its vivid grassroots identity and strong stand on the Taiwan sovereignty issue.
Since the party was established in 2016, its affiliation with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has been evidenced by frequent cooperation between the two, and the fledgling party does not shy away from this association. "One of our goals is to become a partner of the DPP in the legislature next year," said TSP spokesman Yen Ming-wei (顏銘緯).
"Our legislator-at-large list was composed to supplement the insufficiencies of the DPP's list — we have an expert on gender equality as our first candidate as well as doctors who specialize in public health and distribution of medical resources," said Yen. "In addition, we are the one and only party that responded to the issue of resisting infiltration by China by nominating a candidate with expertise in this field."
Even though the party has not successfully entered Taiwan's legislative body, its cooperation with DPP lawmakers has made its mark. This year, the party released its own Foreign Influence Transparency Bill, which is modeled after relevant American and Australian legislation, to counter China's increasing manipulation of domestic media and local businesses.
This bill failed to proceed to a second hearing in the Legislative Yuan. Nevertheless, it inspired the Anti-Infiltration Bill that DPP is striving to pass before the end of the year.
According to Yen, the TSP does not see itself as a third power, a party that is above the fray between the two major parties. On the contrary, it intends to collaborate with the DPP on defeating its major rival and then pressure it into proposing more local, minority-focused policies that have been ignored in the past.
"We hope Taiwan's being for or against China will never be the focus of discussion in the legislature. We hope that there will be more debates between the left and right wings, between different generations and ethnicities, focusing more on social issues and policies," said Yen." For the TSP, joining the Legislative Yuan is only the first step toward this vision.