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People First Party
親民黨
Qīnmíndǎng (Mandarin)
Chhîn-mìn Tóng (Hakka)
LeaderJames Soong
Founded31 March 2000
HeadquartersTaipei, Republic of China (Taiwan)
IdeologyLiberal conservatism
Political positionCenter to center-right
National affiliationPan-Blue Coalition
Colors  Orange
Legislative Yuan
0 / 113
Local Councilors
8 / 912
Party flag
PFP Flag
Website
www.pfp.org.tw
People First Party
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese

The People First Party (PFP, Chinese: 親民; pinyin: Qīnmín Dǎng; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Chhin-bîn-tóng) is a centrist[1] or centre-right[2] political party in the Republic of China (Taiwan).

History

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The PFP was founded by James Soong and his supporters after his failed independent bid for the presidency in 2000. Soong himself is the chairman, and dominates much of its politics. The name of the party, People First (親民), has Confucian connotations.[note 1]

The official goals of PFP, as regards to cross-strait relationships and diplomacy, is for the ROC to: participate in more international organizations, promote Chinese culture overseas and seek economic and cultural interaction between Taiwan and the mainland. Its views are seen as generally favorable towards Chinese unification and staunchly against Taiwan independence.

The party maintains a close but tense relationship with the Kuomintang (KMT) as part of the pan-blue coalition.[3] However, since PFP had, like the New Party, grown out of the KMT, the two parties had to compete for the same set of voters. This dynamic in which both the KMT and PFP must simultaneously compete and cooperate with each other has led to complex and interesting politics.

In several notable cases, this has led to situations in which both parties have run candidates, but close to the election the party with the less popular candidate unofficially dropped out of the race. This in turn has led to some notable situations when either the PFP or the KMT has campaigned against its own candidate, which has led to intra-party resentment.[4]

To avoid a repeat of this effect, which led to the election of Democratic Progressive Party candidate Chen Shui-bian to the presidency in 2000 by a low share of votes,[5] Chairman Soong ran as vice-president on KMT Chairman Lien Chan's presidential ticket in the 2004 presidential election.[6]

After his defeat in Taipei mayoral election on 9 December 2006, Soong announced that he would retire from politics.[7] At this point, with no clear goals, the PFP faced an uncertain future, and considered merging with the Kuomintang (KMT).[8] After much negotiation, the PFP and the KMT did not merge.

Presidential bids

In September 2011, James Soong mounted the PFP's first presidential bid and selected academic Ruey-Shiung Lin to be his running mate for the 2012 election, collecting enough signatures to make it on the ballot.[9] While analysts feared that a PFP run would split the Pan-Blue Coalition vote and hand a winnable election to the DPP (as was the case in the 2000 Presidential election), Soong insisted that his campaign was a serious one and that he would complete his run.[10][11] On election day, the Soong-Lin ticket underperformed and garnered 2.77% of votes, while Ma Ying-jeou of the KMT defeated Tsai Ing-wen of the DPP by a margin of 51.60% to 45.63%. In the concurrent legislative election the PFP won 5.46% of the party-list vote, gaining them 2 seats in the Legislative Yuan, and in addition won 1 district seat for a total of 3 seats.

Soong would launch presidential bids in 2016 and 2020 as well. In 2016 he would garner 12.84% of the vote, compared with 31.04% going to Eric Chu of the KMT and 56.12% going to Tsai Ing-wen of the DPP. In 2020 he would garner 4.26% of the vote, compared with 38.61% going to Han Kuo-yu of the KMT and 57.13% going to Tsai Ing-wen of the DPP. In 2016 they would maintain their seats in the legislature; however, in 2020, the PFP failed to meet the 5% threshold for party-list representation and also did not win any district seats, and was no longer represented in the Legislative Yuan. Prior to the election result in 2020, James Soong announced that his 2020 bid would be his last, throwing the future of the party into question.[12]

Election results

Presidential elections

Election Candidate Running mate Total votes Share of votes Outcome
2000 James Soong Chu-yu[13] Chang Chau-hsiung 4,664,932 36.8% Defeated Red XN
2004 Lien Chan (Emblem of the Kuomintang.svg KMT) James Soong Chu-yu 6,423,906 49.8% Defeated Red XN
2012 James Soong Chu-yu Lin Ruey-shiung 369,588 2.77% Defeated Red XN
2016 James Soong Chu-yu Hsu Hsin-ying (
Emblem of the Kuomintang on a yellow circle.png
MKT)
1,576,861 12.84% Defeated Red XN
2020 James Soong Chu-yu Sandra Yu 608,590 4.26% Defeated Red XN

Legislative elections

Election Total seats won Total votes Share of votes Seat changes Election leader Status President
2001
46 / 225
1,917,836 20.3% Increase 29 seats James Soong Chu-yu 3rd Party Chen Shui-bian
Green Taiwan White Cross.svg
2004
34 / 225
1,350,613 14.78% Decrease 12 seats James Soong Chu-yu 3rd Party
2008
1 / 113
28,254 0.3% Decrease 33 seats James Soong Chu-yu 4th Party
4th Party Ma Ying-jeou
Emblem of the Kuomintang.svg
2012
3 / 113
722,089 5.49% Increase 2 seats James Soong Chu-yu 4th Party
2016
3 / 113
794,838 6.52% Steady 0 seats James Soong Chu-yu 4th Party Tsai Ing-wen
Green Taiwan White Cross.svg
2020
0 / 113
518,921 3.66% Decrease 3 seats James Soong Chu-yu Did not represent

Local elections

Election Mayors &
Magistrates
Councils Third-level
Municipal heads
Third-level
Municipal councils
Fourth-level
Village heads
Election Leader
2001-2002
1 / 23
49 / 897
4 / 319
N/A N/A James Soong Chu-yu
2002
municipalities only
0 / 2
15 / 96
N/A N/A N/A James Soong Chu-yu
2005
1 / 23
31 / 901
3 / 319
N/A N/A James Soong Chu-yu
2006
municipalities only
0 / 2
6 / 96
N/A N/A N/A James Soong Chu-yu
2009
0 / 17
1 / 587
0 / 211
N/A N/A James Soong Chu-yu
2010
municipalities only
0 / 5
4 / 314
N/A N/A
0 / 3,757
James Soong Chu-yu
2014
unified
0 / 22
9 / 906
0 / 204
0 / 2,137
1 / 7,836
James Soong Chu-yu
2018
unified
0 / 22
8 / 912
0 / 204
0 / 2,148
1 / 7,744
James Soong Chu-yu

National Assembly elections

Election Total seats won Total votes Share of votes Changes Election leader Status President
2005
18 / 300
236,716 6.11% Increase18 seats James Soong Chu-yu 4th Party Chen Shui-bian
Green Taiwan White Cross.svg

See also

Notes

  1. ^ 親民 literally means "to be close to the people." The Great Learning states, "What the Great Learning teaches, is—to illustrate illustrious virtue; to renovate the people; and to rest in the highest excellence" (Tr. Legge, 大學之道明明德,在親民,在止於至善。)

References

  1. ^ Gertz, Bill (9 January 2020). "China's crackdown in Hong Kong upends Taiwan election". The Washington Times. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  2. ^ Chang, Cindy; Do, Anh (10 January 2020). "L.A.-area residents flock to Taiwan to vote in 'do or die' presidential election". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  3. ^ "On the brink". The Economist. 6 December 2001. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  4. ^ Hong, Caroline (11 November 2004). "Pan-blue tensions rising over election coordination". Taipei Times. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  5. ^ Suh, Sangwon (31 March 2000). "Seismic Changes". CNN. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  6. ^ Huang, Sandy (15 February 2003). "Lien-Soong ticket a done deal -- almost". Taipei Times. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  7. ^ "Taiwan's James Soong: the perennial candidate ... and loser". South China Morning Post. 16 January 2016. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  8. ^ "Taiwan's troubled politics". The Economist. 11 December 2006. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  9. ^ "James Soong announces Taiwan presidential bid". Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  10. ^ Malcolm Cook. "Déjà vu in Taiwan?". Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  11. ^ "Asia Times Online :: China News, China Business News, Taiwan and Hong KongNews and Business". Archived from the original on 3 October 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2016.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  12. ^ Baron, James. "James Soong: The End of an (Authoritarian) Era in Taiwan". The Diplomat. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  13. ^ ran as independent, expelled from Kuomintang in 1999.