This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2010)
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)[I] is a Taiwanese nationalist and centre-left political party in the Republic of China (Taiwan). Currently controlling both the Republic of China presidency and the unicameral Legislative Yuan, it is the majority ruling party and the dominant party in the Pan-Green Coalition as of 2023.
|Founded||28 September 1986|
|Split from||Tangwai movement in the Kuomintang|
|Headquarters||10F-30, Beiping East Rd.|
Zhongzheng District, Taipei, Taiwan
|Think tank||New Frontier Foundation|
|Membership (2014)||335,643[needs update]|
|National affiliation||Pan-Green Coalition|
|Regional affiliation||Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats|
|International affiliation||Liberal International|
62 / 113
2 / 6
3 / 16
277 / 910
40 / 204
^ a: The DPP has also been characterized as centrist on an international political spectrum because of its historical positioning as the major big tent opposition party supporting democracy. In general, the DPP is often described as a centre-left party, and is accepted as part of Taiwan's "left-wing" camp.
|Democratic Progressive Party|
Founded in 1986 by Hsu Hsin-liang, Hsieh Tsung-min and Lin Shui-chuan, a year prior to the end of martial law, the DPP is one of two major parties in Taiwan, the other being the historically dominant Kuomintang (KMT), which previously ruled the country as a one-party state. It has traditionally been associated with a strong advocacy of human rights, emerging against the authoritarian White Terror that was initiated by the KMT, as well as the promotion of Taiwanese nationalism and identity, in contrast to Chinese unification. The incumbent President and three-time leader of the DPP, Tsai Ing-wen, is the second member of the DPP to hold the office.
The DPP is a longtime member of Liberal International and a founding member of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats. It represented Taiwan in the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO). The DPP and its affiliated parties are widely classified as socially liberal having been founded as a party for human rights, including factions within the party supporting same-sex marriage and other LGBT rights. On foreign policy, the DPP is more willing to increase military expenditures to defend against a potential invasion by the People's Republic of China (PRC) due to the ambiguous political status of Taiwan, and favors closer ties with Japan and the United States, as well as the nations of ASEAN as part of its New Southbound Policy.
The DPP's roots were in the "Dangwai" – or "Extra-KMT" – movement, which formed in opposition to the Kuomintang's one-party authoritarian rule under the "party-state" system during martial law. This movement culminated in the formation of the DPP as an alternative, but still illegal, party on 28 September 1986 by eighteen organizing members at Grand Hotel Taipei, with a total of 132 people joining the party in attendance. The new party members contested the 1986 election as "nonpartisan" candidates since competing parties would remain illegal until the following year. These early members of the party, like the tangwai, drew heavily from the ranks of family members and defense lawyers of political prisoners, as well as intellectuals and artists who had spent time abroad. These individuals were strongly committed to political change toward democracy and freedom of speech, press, assembly, and association.
The tangwai were not a unified political unit and consisted of factions which carried over into the early DPP. At its founding the DPP consisted of three factions: the Kang group (a moderate faction led by Kang Ning-hsiang), New Tide faction (consisting of intellectuals and social activists led by Wu Nai-ren and Chiou I-jen), and the Progress Faction (led by Lin Cheng-chieh, a waishengren opposed to independence). Moderates would later coalesce around the Formosa faction, founded by those arrested during the Formosa Incident after their release from prison. In the early days of the party, the Formosa faction focused on winning elections by wielding the star power of its leaders, while New Tide would focus on ideological mobilization and developing grassroots support for social movements. As a result, the Formosa faction would become more moderate, often bending to public opinion, while New Tide would become more ideologically cohesive. By 1988 the Formosa Faction would dominate high-level positions within the party.
The party did not at the outset give explicit support to an independent Taiwanese national identity, partially because moderates such as Hsu Hsin-liang were concerned that such a move that could have invited a violent crackdown by the Kuomintang and alienate voters, but also because some members such as Lin Cheng-chieh supported unification. Partially due to their waning influence within the party and partially due to their ideological commitment, between 1988 and 1991 the New Tide Faction would push the independence issue, bolstered by the return of pro-independence activists from overseas who were previously barred from Taiwan. In 1991, in order to head off the New Tide, party chairman Hsu Hsin-liang of the moderate Formosa faction agreed to include language in the party charter which advocated for the drafting of a new constitution as well as declaration of a new Republic of Taiwan via referendum (which resulted in many pro-unification members leaving the party). However, the party would quickly begin to walk back on this language, and eventually in 1999 the party congress passed a resolution that Taiwan was already an independent country, under the official name "Republic of China," and that any constitutional changes should be approved by the people via referendum, while emphasizing the use of the name "Taiwan" in international settings.
Despite its lack of electoral success, the pressure that the DPP created on the ruling KMT via its demands are widely credited in the political reforms of the 1990s, most notably the direct popular election of Republic of China's president and all representatives in the National Assembly and Legislative Yuan, as well the ability to open discuss events from the past such as the February 28 Incident and its long aftermath of martial law, and space for a greater variety of political views and advocacy. Once the DPP had representation in the Legislative Yuan, the party used the legislature as a forum to challenge the ruling KMT.
Post-democratization, the DPP shifted their focus to anti-corruption issues, in particular regarding KMT connections to organized crime as well as "party assets" illegally acquired from the government during martial law. Meanwhile, factions continued to form within the DPP as a mechanism for coalition-building within the party; notably, future President Chen Shui-bian would form the Justice Alliance faction.
2000–2008: in minority governmentEdit
The DPP won the presidency with the election of Chen Shui-bian in March 2000 with a plurality, due to Pan-Blue voters splitting their vote between the Kuomintang and independent candidate James Soong, ending 91 years of KMT rule in the Republic of China. Chen softened the party's stance on independence to appeal to moderate voters, appease the United States, and placate China. He also promised not to change the ROC state symbols or declare formal independence as long as the People's Republic of China did not attack Taiwan. Further, he advocated for economic exchange with China as well as the establishment of transportation links.
In 2002 the DPP became the first party other than the KMT to reach a plurality in the Legislative Yuan following the 2001 legislative election. However, a majority coalition between the KMT, People First Party, and New Party prevented it from taking control of the chamber. This coalition was at odds with the presidency from the beginning, and led to President Chen's abandonment of the centrist positions that he ran his campaign on.
In 2003, Chen announced a campaign to draft a referendum law as well as a new constitution, a move which appealed to the fundamentalist wing of the DPP. By now, the New Tide faction had begun to favor pragmatic approaches to their pro-independence goals and dominated decision-making positions within the party. By contrast, grassroots support was divided largely between moderate and fundamentalist wings. Though Chen's plans for a referendum on a new constitution were scuttled by the legislature, he did manage to include a largely symbolic referendum on the PRC military threat to coincide with the 2004 presidential election. President Chen Shui-bian would be narrowly re-elected in 2004 after an assassination attempt the day before the election, and in the later legislative election, the pan-blue coalition opposition retained control of the chamber.
President Chen's moves sparked a debate within the party between fundamentalists and moderates who were concerned that voters would abandon their party. The fundamentalists won out, and as a result the DPP would largely follow Chen's lead. The DPP suffered a significant election defeat in nationwide local and county elections in December 2005, while the pan-blue coalition captured 16 of 23 county and city government offices under the leadership of popular Taipei mayor and KMT Party Chairman Ma Ying-jeou. Moderates within the party would blame this loss on the party's fundamentalist turn.
The results led to a shake up of the party leadership. Su Tseng-chang resigned as DPP chairman soon after election results were announced. Su had pledged to step down if the DPP lost either Taipei County or failed to win 10 of the 23 mayor/magistrate positions. Vice President Annette Lu was appointed acting DPP leader. Presidential Office Secretary-General Yu Shyi-kun was elected in a three-way race against legislator Chai Trong-rong and Wong Chin-chu with 54.4% of the vote.
Premier Frank Hsieh, DPP election organizer and former mayor of Kaohsiung twice tendered a verbal resignation immediately following the election, but his resignation was not accepted by President Chen until 17 January 2006 after the DPP chairmanship election had concluded. The former DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang was appointed to replace Hsieh as premier. Hsieh and his cabinet resigned en masse on 24 January to make way for Su and his new cabinet. President Chen had offered the position of Presidential Office Secretary-General (vacated by Su) to the departing premier, but Hsieh declined and left office criticizing President Chen for his tough line on dealing with China.
Separate identity from ChinaEdit
On 30 September 2007, the DPP approved a resolution asserting a separate identity from China and called for the enactment of a new constitution for a "normal nation". It struck an accommodating tone by advocating general use of "Taiwan" as the country's name without calling for abandonment of the name Republic of China.
2008–2016: back to oppositionEdit
In the national elections held in early months of 2008, the DPP won less than 25% of the seats (38.2% vote share) in the new Legislative Yuan while its presidential candidate, former Kaohsiung mayor Frank Hsieh, lost to KMT candidate Ma Ying-jeou by a wide margin (41.55% vs. 58.45%). In May, the DPP elected moderate Tsai Ing-wen as their new leader over fundamentalist Koo Kwang-ming. Tsai became the first female leader of the DPP and the first female leader to lead a major party in Taiwan.
The first months since backed to the opposition were dominated by press coverage of the travails of Chen Shui-bian and his wife Wu Shu-jen. On 15 August 2008, Chen resigned from the DPP and apologized: "Today I have to say sorry to all of the DPP members and supporters. I let everyone down, caused you humiliation and failed to meet your expectations. My acts have caused irreparable damage to the party. I love the DPP deeply and am proud of being a DPP member. To express my deepest regrets to all DPP members and supporters, I announce my withdrawal from the DPP immediately. My wife Wu Shu-jen is also withdrawing from the party." DPP Chairperson followed with a public statement on behalf of the party: "In regard to Chen and his wife's decision to withdraw from the party and his desire to shoulder responsibility for his actions as well as to undergo an investigation by the party's anti-corruption committee, we respect his decision and accept it."
The DPP vowed to reflect on public misgivings towards the party. Chairperson Tsai insisted on the need for the party to remember its history, defend the Republic of China's sovereignty and national security, and maintain its confidence.
The party re-emerged as a voice in Taiwan's political debate when Ma's administration reached the end of its first year in office. The DPP marked the anniversary with massive rallies in Taipei and Kaohsiung. Tsai's address to the crowd in Taipei on 17 May proclaimed a "citizens' movement to protect Republic of China" seeking to "protect our democracy and protect Republic of China."
2016–present: in majority governmentEdit
On 16 January 2016, Taiwan held a general election for its presidency and for the Legislative Yuan. The DPP gained the presidential seat, with the election of Tsai Ing-wen, who received 56.12% of the votes, while her opponent Eric Chu gained 31.2%. In addition, the DPP gained a majority of the Legislative Yuan, winning 68 seats in the 113-seat legislature, up from 40 in 2012 election, thus giving them the majority for the first time in its history.
Programs supported by the party include moderate social welfare policies involving the rights of women, senior citizens, children, young people, labor, minorities, indigenous peoples, farmers, and other disadvantaged sectors of the society. Furthermore, its platform includes a legal and political order based on human rights and democracy; balanced economic and financial administration; fair and open social welfare; educational and cultural reform; and, independent defense and peaceful foreign policy with closer ties to United States and Japan. The party also has a progressive stance that includes support for gender equality and same-sex marriage under Tsai's leadership, and also has a conservative base that includes support from the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan.
Stance on Taiwanese independenceEdit
The primary political axis in Taiwan involves the issue of Taiwan independence versus Chinese Unification. Although the differences tend to be portrayed in polarized terms, both major coalitions have developed modified, nuanced and often complex positions. Though opposed in the philosophical origins, the practical differences between such positions can sometimes be subtle.
The current official position of the party is that Taiwan is an independent and sovereign country whose territory consists of Taiwan and its surrounding smaller islands and whose sovereignty derives only from the ROC citizens living in Taiwan (similar philosophy of self-determination), based on the 1999 "Resolution on Taiwan's Future". It considers Taiwan an independent nation under the name of Republic of China, making a formal declaration of independence unnecessary. Though calls for drafting a new constitution and a declaration of a Republic of Taiwan was written into the party charter in 1991, the 1999 resolution has practically superseded the earlier charter. The DPP rejects the so-called "One China principle" defined in 1992 as the basis for official diplomatic relations with the PRC and advocates a Taiwanese national identity which is separate from mainland China.
By contrast, the KMT or pan-blue coalition agrees that the Republic of China is an independent and sovereign country that is not part of the PRC, but argues that a one China principle (with different definitions across the strait) can be used as the basis for talks with China. The KMT also opposes Taiwan independence and argues that efforts to establish a Taiwanese national identity separated from the Chinese national identity are unnecessary and needlessly provocative. Some KMT conservative officials have called efforts from DPP "anti-China" (opposing migrants from mainland China, who DPP officials did not recognize as Taiwanese, but Chinese). At the other end of the political spectrum, the acceptance by the DPP of the symbols of the Republic of China is opposed by the Taiwan Solidarity Union.
The first years of the DPP as the ruling party drew accusations from the opposition that, as a self-styled Taiwanese nationalist party, the DPP was itself inadequately sensitive to the ethnographic diversity of Taiwan's population. Where the KMT had been guilty of Chinese chauvinism, the critics charged, the DPP might offer nothing more as a remedy than Hoklo chauvinism. The DPP argues that its efforts to promote a Taiwanese national identity are merely an effort to normalize a Taiwanese identity repressed during years of authoritarian Kuomintang rule.
Since the democratization of Taiwan in the 1990s, the DPP has had its strongest performance in the Hokkien-speaking counties and cities of Taiwan, compared with the predominantly Hakka and Mandarin-speaking counties, that tend to support the Kuomintang.
The deep-rooted hostility between Taiwanese aborigines and (Taiwanese) Hoklo, and the effective KMT networks within aboriginal communities contribute to aboriginal skepticism against the DPP and the aboriginals‘ tendency to vote for the KMT. Aboriginals have criticized politicians for abusing the "indigenization" movement for political gains, such as aboriginal opposition to the DPP's "rectification" by recognizing the Truku for political reasons, where the Atayal and Seediq slammed the Truku for their name rectification. In 2008, the majority of mountain townships voted for Ma Ying-jeou. However, the DPP share of the aboriginal vote has been rising.
The DPP National Party Congress selects, for two-year terms, the 30 members of the Central Executive Committee and the 11 members of the Central Review Committee. The Central Executive Committee, in turn, chooses the 10 members of the Central Standing Committee. Since 2012, the DPP has had a "China Affairs Committee" to deal with Cross-Strait relations; the name caused some controversy within the party and in the Taiwan media, with critics suggesting that "Mainland Affairs Committee" or "Cross-Strait Affairs Committee" would show less of a hostile "One Country on Each Side" attitude.
For many years the DPP officially recognized several factions within its membership, such as the New Tide faction (新潮流系), the Formosa faction (美麗島系), the Justice Alliance faction (正義連線系) and Welfare State Alliance faction (福利國系). Each faction endorsed slightly different policies. The factions were often generationally identifiable, representing individuals who had entered the party at different times. In 2006, the party ended recognition of factions. The factions have since stated that they will comply with the resolution. However, the factions are still referred to by name in national media.
- Current Chair: Lai Ching-te
- Current Secretary-General: Lin Hsi-yao (since May 2020)
Legislative Yuan leader (caucus leader)Edit
|Election||Candidate||Running mate||Total votes||Share of votes||Outcome|
|1996||Peng Ming-min||Frank Hsieh Chang-ting||2,274,586||21.13%||Defeated|
|2000||Chen Shui-bian||Annette Lu Hsiu-lien||4,977,737||39.30%||Elected|
|2004||Chen Shui-bian||Annette Lu Hsiu-lien||6,446,900||50.11%||Elected|
|2008||Frank Hsieh Chang-ting||Su Tseng-chang||5,445,239||41.55%||Defeated|
|2012||Tsai Ing-wen||Su Jia-chyuan||6,093,578||45.63%||Defeated|
|2016||Tsai Ing-wen||Chen Chien-jen ( Ind.)||6,894,744||56.12%||Elected|
|2020||Tsai Ing-wen||Lai Ching‑te||8,170,231||57.13%||Elected|
|Election||Total seats won||Total votes||Share of votes||Changes||Party leader||Status||President|
21 / 130
|Huang Hsin-chieh||Minority||Lee Teng-hui|
51 / 161
|2,944,195||31.0%||30 seats||Hsu Hsin-liang||Minority|
54 / 164
|3,132,156||33.2%||3 seats||Shih Ming-teh||Minority|
70 / 225
|2,966,834||29.6%||16 seats||Lin Yi-hsiung||Minority|
87 / 225
|3,447,740||36.6%||21 seats||Chen Shui-bian||Minority||Chen Shui-bian|
89 / 225
27 / 113
|3,775,352||38.2%||62 seats||Minority||Ma Ying-jeou|
40 / 113
|4,556,526||34.6%||13 seats||Tsai Ing-wen||Minority|
68 / 113
|5,370,953||44.1%||28 seats||Majority||Tsai Ing-wen|
61 / 113
|4,811,241||33.98%||7 seats||Cho Jung-tai||Majority|
|Election||Magistrates and mayors||Councillors||Township/city mayors||Township/city council representatives||Village chiefs||Party leader|
1 / 3
52 / 175
12 / 23
114 / 886
28 / 319
1 / 2
28 / 96
9 / 23
147 / 897
28 / 319
1 / 2
31 / 96
6 / 23
192 / 901
35 / 319
1 / 2
33 / 96
4 / 17
128 / 587
34 / 211
2 / 5
130 / 314
220 / 3,757
13 / 22
291 / 906
54 / 204
194 / 2,137
390 / 7,836
6 / 22
238 / 912
40 / 204
151 / 2,148
285 / 7,744
5 / 22
277 / 910
35 / 204
123 / 2,139
226 / 7,748
National Assembly electionsEdit
|Election||Total seats won||Total votes||Share of votes||Changes||Party leader||Status||President|
66 / 325
|2,036,271||23.3%||66 seats||Huang Shin-chieh||Minority||Lee Teng-hui|
127 / 334
|3,121,423||29.9%||33 seats||Shih Ming-teh||Minority|
127 / 300
|1,647,791||42.52%||28 seats||Annette Lu Hsiu-lien||Plurality||Chen Shui-bian|
Words in native languagesEdit
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The Democratic Progressive Party, founded in 1986 by Hsu Hsin-liang, Hsieh Tsung-min and Lin Shui-chuan, is a progressive and liberal political party in Taiwan.
- Taiwan International Review, Volume 5. Democratic Progressive Party of Taiwan, Mission in the United States. 1999. p. 13.
The DPP resembles a cross - mix of Western social democratic and liberal values .
- "Terry Glavin: Taiwan and its courageous leader a rare bright spot in our dreary COVID world". Nationalpost. 20 May 2020. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
President Tsai went into Wednesday's ceremony with an approval rating of 70.3 per cent after besting her opponents in a landslide re-election in January, all the while quietly enduring Beijing's subversive efforts to unseat her and Xi Jinping's constant threats of war and occupation.The Taiwanese have been blessed with four years of Tsai's avowedly liberal, mildly social-democratic and happily free-enterprise government.
- John Franklin Copper, ed. (2012). Taiwan's Democracy on Trial: Political Change During the Chen Shui-bian Era and Beyond. University Press of America. p. 37. ISBN 9780761853206.
The DPP advanced a socialist agenda; the KMT copied much of it in order to preempt the DPP's program and weaken the DPP's political appeal. As it did this Taiwan became more and more a Western (social) democracy.
- Casey, Michael (12 June 2016). "Time to Start Worrying about Taiwan". The National Interest. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
The DPP's ideology emphasizes Taiwanese nationalism and the notion of a Taiwan that is politically and culturally distinct from mainland China. It also advocates social liberalism and is commonly associated with small- to medium-sized companies and organized labor. While the DPP wishes for greater independence from mainland China, the party is divided on the nature of that independence.
- Carin Holroyd, ed. (2020). Introducing East Asia: History, Politics, Economy and Society. Routledge. ISBN 9781317409922.
Launched in 1986, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is one of the two main political parties in Taiwan. The DPP is a centre-left, pan-Green party with a Taiwanese nationalist, strongly antiCommunist focus.
.org /member-parties /democratic-progressive-party-of-taiwan /
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... two party-dominated system, with the center-right KMT and the center-left DPP, has been institutionalized in Taiwan.
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Taiwan's main, centre-left, party of opposition (the Democratic Progressive Party) has been committed to securing formal independence for Taiwan from the communist mainland, for all that its latest election success (March 2000) ...
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