by Matthew Strong
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Taiwan Solidarity Union will sack its entire staff following its defeat in last weekend’s elections, reports said Wednesday.
The small pro-independence party lost all its three seats at the Legislative Yuan since its at-large list of candidates failed to reach the threshold of 5 percent. In addition, it also stayed below the minimum of 3.5 percent to receive government subsidies.
TSU Secretary-General Lin Chih-chia and former lawmaker Cheng Chen-lung held talks Wednesday, reaching the conclusion that for the moment being, all staff members should be laid off, leaving an eventual future chairman the room to start from the bottom up, reports said.
Former President Lee Teng-hui, who is often described as the “spiritual leader” of the TSU, reportedly wanted the party to continue to exist, while he asked Cheng to put its house in order while waiting for a new chairman. Incumbent chairman Huang Kun-huei resigned after the election defeat.
Cheng reportedly passed on Lee’s congratulations to Huang for his hard work during the past eight years, which led to resistance to Chinese influence gaining the upper hand in the election.
Cheng was expected to handle the financial affairs of the party for the time being. Possible plans for the TSU included internal reform and rejuvenation to make it more able to compete with the parties which emerged from the Sunflower Movement, but there was also a possibility that it might be disbanded, reports said.
The TSU was seen as a minor partner of the Democratic Progressive Party with more clearly accented policies in favor of Taiwan Independence. At the new Legislative Yuan, the DPP will hold 68 out of 113 seats, while the New Power Party, which also favors independence, won five seats.