People associated with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) — a center-left political party set to be launched by veteran social activists — have vowed to clinch five legislator-at-large seats in the elections in January next year.
The party is to hold its inauguration event on March 29, which is to be preceded by a series of public forums to invite increased participation in politics.
At a public forum hosted by the party on Sunday, SDP representatives said they aim to present an alternative to the pan-blue and pan-green camps, adding that both of the major parties have failed to address widening economic disparities.
Led by National Taiwan University professor and women’s rights activist Fan Yun (范雲), the group vowed to promote institutional reforms to ensure social justice, as well as challenge what they see as a “stranglehold on politics by large corporations and privileged people.”
National Chung Cheng University professor Chen Shang-chih (陳尚志) outlined five key policies that are to be the SDP’s platform — increased wages, reforms to the national pensions system, higher taxes for wealthy people and business conglomerates, transparency in government and promotion of social diversity.
The party is to work closely with labor unions and advocates for underprivileged groups, including those that represent the interests of migrant workers, foreign spouses and Aborigines, Chen said.
Youth activist Syu Wei-ting (許韋婷) said the party wants to introduce a new style of politics that emphasizes the discussion of policies, instead of traditional methods of voter mobilization that places a heavy emphasis on personal ties.
“From the start, we want to run this campaign differently from other parties,” Syu said. “We want to prove that it is possible to run an election while focusing on discussion of policies and ideals.”
Women’s rights activist and academic Wu Wei-ting (伍維婷) said that the party aims to secure the support of voters aged 45 and below, especially those from the “sandwich generation,” who are struggling with economic burdens to care for elderly parents and young children.
Fan said that the SDP’s goal is to garner 2,000,000 votes for their legislator-at-large candidates in next year’s elections, which would secure five seats.
Among a total of 113 seats in the legislature, 34 are allocated according to the share of votes each party receives for their predetermined list of legislator-at-large candidates.
Amid an explosion of candidates from minor parties, the SDP is engaged in talks to formulate a joint legislator-at-large list with the environmental issue-based Green Party.
As Fan is considering the race for Taipei’s Daan District (大安), she could find herself competing for votes with heavy metal band Chthonic’s Freddy Lim (林昶佐) of the New Power Party, as both parties were launched by social activists.