Democratic Progressive Party

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The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is a political party in Taiwan, and the dominant party in the Pan-Green Coalition. It has traditionally been associated with strong advocacy of human rights and a distinct Taiwanese identity, including promotion of de jure Taiwan independence. Its present chair is Tsai Ing-wen. The DPP is a 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 Organisation. The DPP and its affiliated parties are widely classified as "liberal" because of their strong human rights stance and endorsement of pluralistic democracy while their Kuomintang opposition, historically take a defensive posture on such issues, is generally viewed as "conservative."[citation needed] In Taiwan, though, these classifications carry nuances that may not be characteristic of them elsewhere. Discussion of left-right politics is rare in Taiwan. The mass media rarely mention the existence of a political spectrum, as each network and news source tends to take an openly partisan stand.



The DPP has its roots in liberal opposition to Kuomintang one-party authoritarian rule. It was initially known as the Tangwai – or "outside-the-party" – movement. This movement culminated in the formation of the DPP as an alternative party on September 28, 1986. The new party contested the 1986 election even though competing parties remained illegal under national law until 1991. The first members of the party 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. Such individuals were strongly committed to political change that would ensure constitutional support in Taiwan for freedoms of speech, assembly and association. The party did not at the outset give open support to an independent Taiwanese national identity–a move that could have invited a violent crackdown by the Taiwan's Kuomintang rulers. Its platform was pro-environment and pro-democracy. As more and more of its demands were met during the 1990s–such as the direct popular election of Taiwan's president and all representatives in its Legislative Yuan, and open discussion of Taiwan's repressive past as represented in the 2-28 Incident and its long martial law aftermath–a greater variety of views could be advocated in the more liberal political atmosphere. Party members began openly promoting a national identity for Taiwan separate from that of China. The DPP supported reform of the Constitution that would make it official that Taiwan's national government represented only the people of Taiwan and made no claims to territory in China or Mongolia.

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