TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The self-proclaimed most resilient third party in Taiwanese politics, the People First Party (PFP), says it is determined to save the country from the mess created by the Kuomintang (KMT) party and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
It is the fifth time that PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) has joined a presidential race, including one run as a vice-presidential candidate. However, some have interpreted his participation this year as merely a lifeline thrown to ensure the PFP's survival in the Legislative Yuan.
However, during a televised policy presentation last month, Soong swore to address emerging issues facing Taiwan once elected, including the aging population, the disparity of wealth, and pension reform, while portraying himself as a realist who can cater to what Taiwanese need most. As a longtime politician and former governor on the island, he did not come to the battlefield empty-handed.
"We do not partake in extremism in this election," said Bella Yu (于美人), the PFP spokeswoman, in an interview with Taiwan News. She accused the "blue" and "green" camps of having constrained Taiwan to the debate over Taiwan-China relations for more than 20 years: "every time one of the two leading parties is elected, half of the professionals in Taiwan became unusable because of the political labels attached to them."
She went on to warn of the tremendous power wielded by the current president, Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), as her DPP controls both the administrative and legislative bodies. Yu claims that if the DPP continues to dominate after the Jan 11 elections, Tsai will get to nominate new members of the Control Yuan and Examination Yuan in 2020 and seize the absolute power to rule the country.
Regarding the results of the upcoming legislative elections, Yu claimed the party is confident it can form a caucus in the Legislative Yuan, as several candidates on its legislator-at-large list have been endorsed by Foxconn founder Terry Gou (郭台銘). Gou quit the KMT after losing its primary last summer, but he has not stopped seeking to expand his influence in politics.
Regardless of the result, the PFP knows that this round of legislative elections will begin a new era of multi-party politics in Taiwan, and the party will not be absent from this transformation.