NPP legislator quits party to run as independent

Taipei, New Power Party (NPP) lawmaker Freddy Lim announced on Thursday that he is leaving party to run as an independent in the upcoming legislative election.

Lim, one of the founding members of the NPP and a former chair of Amnesty International Taiwan, made his announcement at a press conference after NPP members met to discuss strategy for the 2020 presidential and legislative elections the same day.

Over the past few years, Lim said, he has repeatedly raised the issue of how the party should position itself as the third largest party in the legislature.

However, the NPP was unable to reach a consensus on the party's future direction, as a result of which he has decided to step forward in the right direction, the heavy metal singerturnedlawmaker said.

The NPP could not agree on whether the party should get behind the reelection bid of President Tsai Ingwen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Lim said.

Calling Tsai the unquestionable choice in the face of China's suppression of Taiwan, Lim said other NPP members wanted to endorse Taipei Mayor Ko Wenje (who is seen as a contender in the 2020 presidential election against Tsai and Han Kuoyu of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), despite having not yet declared his intention to run.

Lim said he has no plan to join the DPP or the new party Ko just formed at present and will instead contend Taipei's fifth district as an independent.

In response, NPP chairman Chiu Hsienchihand former party chairman Huang Kuo said they will try and persuade Lim to stay, adding that the party's strategy for the 2020 election is essentially the same as that of Lim.

Although the NPP recognizes Tsai's efforts to defend national sovereignty, cooperation in the runup to the 2020 elections is only possible when two sides share the same goals, Chiu said, adding that the party has no plan to throw its support behind Ko.

Huang, the NPP's most visible public figure, said he supports the party's decision to persuade Lim to stay as the two share the same goal safeguarding Taiwan's sovereignty and democracy.

Huang has been one of the main voices in the NPP insisting that the party should operate as a force balancing the DPP and KMT.

He has said publicly he would leave the party without hesitation if it chooses to become a little DPP and support Tsai's bid for reelection.

The NPP, which emerged from the Sunflower movement, was founded in January 2015. With Lim's departure, the NPP has three seats in the 113seat Legislative Yuan and 16 local councilors nationwide.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel