Social Democratic Party, Green Party form political union to increase chances
Taiwan’s Green Party and Social Democratic Party (SDP) announced Monday that they have formed a political union to increase their chances of winning legislative seats in the election next year.
Representatives of the two parties signed a memorandum of understanding that day, agreeing to form the alliance and jointly field candidates for district and legislator-at-large seats in the ninth legislative elections to be held on Jan. 16, 2016.
“We hope to move into the Legislature by uniting ‘third-party forces’ that share similar ideals,” the parties said in a joint statement.
The parties said their goal is to ensure that neither the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) nor the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) gains a majority in the Legislature, in order to “change the old politics that favor corporations and have no regard for the disadvantaged and the minorities.”
Over the past 15 years, both the KMT and DPP have leaned toward large corporations, and have harmed the environment and human and labor rights, the parties said, adding that Taiwan needs opposition parties that stand with the laborers, environment, sexual minorities and other disadvantaged groups.
“We are uniting together to safeguard Taiwan, safeguard our homeland and safeguard our values (to stand with) the disadvantaged,” Fan Yun ( ), convener of the SDP and associate professor of sociology at National Taiwan University, said at a press conference.
Green Party Taiwan co-convener Lee Ken-cheng ( ) said it took over six months of negotiations before the parties agreed to form the union.
The legislative elections will be held next year along with the presidential election.
A political party or union of parties must win at least 5 percent of the valid votes to win any of the 34 legislator-at-large seats in the 113-seat Legislature. The “constituency” legislators will account for 73 of the total, with the remaining six going to aboriginal representatives.
The Social Democratic Party was formed on March 29 of this year and has not yet gone through any elections. Its members include professors, lawyers and representatives of non-profit organizations.
It supports higher wages for workers, higher taxes on business magnates and the wealthy, equal rights for gays, and fairness and transparency in politics, and is against capital punishment.
The Green Party Taiwan, established on Jan. 25, 1996, has fought in many elections but has won only two local council seats — in Hsinchu County and Taoyuan City — during the local government elections late last year.
The Green Party Taiwan is a member of the Asia-Pacific Greens Federation and is focused on fighting against environmental, labor and other injustices.