The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU; Chinese: 台灣團結聯盟) is a political party in Taiwan which advocates Taiwan independence. It was officially founded on July 24, 2001 and is considered part of the Pan-Green Coalition. Unlike the Democratic Progressive Party, its larger companion party in the Pan-Green Coalition, the TSU actively campaigns for the creation of a de jure Republic of Taiwan. The party prided itself on being the first to include "Taiwan".
In the summer of 2001, supporters of former ROC president Lee Teng-hui formed the Taiwan Solidarity Union. In the 2000 presidential elections, the Kuomintang (KMT) suffered a devastating defeat, in which internal turmoil had caused the party to lose its grip on power. This was blamed on Lee, the KMT Chairman at the time, and he was forced to resign in March 2001. The hardliners in the KMT and recently expelled supporters of James Soong believed Lee secretly harbored support for Taiwan independence and had purposely sabotaged the KMT (by not allowing Soong to run under the KMT) in order to allow Chen Shui-bian, the Democratic Progressive Party candidate, to win. Meanwhile, after winning the presidential election, Chen Shui-bian moderated his pro-independence position, alienating some hardline independence supporters in the Democratic Progressive Party. By July, just months before the December 2001 elections to the Legislative Yuan, these factors accumulated to result in the formation of the TSU to continue Lee's policies, and fill the void in Taiwanese politics caused by the DPP's abandonment of its strongly pro-independence political stance. It was hoped that this would lead to a pan-green majority in the nation's primary legislative body, thus giving the executive branch, under Chen, the political backing necessary to pursue policies supportive of Taiwanese independence.
The TSU's stated political aim is the advocacy of the creation of a Republic of Taiwan and a policy of desinicization which consists of eliminating the symbols and concepts which connect Taiwan to the idea of China. The TSU argues that any lingering connection with the concept of China renders Taiwan an "abnormal nation" and that clearly separating Taiwan from China is necessary to prevent Taiwan from being dominated by an enemy and foreign nation. The TSU has also strongly advocated the creation of a new constitution for Taiwan and abandonment of the Republic of China as Taiwan's formal name.
Lee was, naturally, identified as the "spiritual leader" (though he personally never joined the party); the TSU hoped that Lee's popularity would help the TSU make the 5% support mark. Further, Lee's dominance in the party was revealed when the candidates TSU nominated had all been personally approved by Lee beforehand. Meanwhile, as Lee's actions increasingly departed from the KMT's unificationist positions, he was eventually expelled from the Kuomintang. Although there was some initial speculation that Lee's expulsion would cause mass defections in the Kuomintang, none of the major Kuomintang leaders or Lee's close associates changed sides. Nonetheless, former members of the KMT were still to be the fundamental building blocks of the new party, with half of TSU candidates coming directly from the KMT.
After winning nine seats in the 225-member Legislative Yuan in December 2001, the TSU has largely displaced the Taiwan Independence Party (TAIP) as the strongly pro-Taiwan-independence political force and the TSU legislators began advocating relevant resolutions. For instance, they have opened the debates about changing the national flag and national anthem. In the 2002 Republic of China municipal elections in Taipei and Kaohsiung, TSU fielded no mayoral candidate, and it suffered a defeat in winning no seats in the Taipei City council and won only two seats in the Kaohsiung City council.
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... Election for the 5th Legislative Yuan (五屆立法委員選舉) of the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan was held on December 1, 2001 ... the Chinese reunificationist and conservative opposition to muster a slim majority over the pro-Taiwan independence Pan-Green Coalition formed between the Democratic Progressive. 68 ... -46 People First Party* 1,917,836 20.3% 46 ... +29 Taiwan Solidarity Union* 801,560 08.5% 13 ... +13 New Party 269,620 2.9% 1 ... -8 Independent 52,342 00.4% 8 ...
... In the 2012 legislative elections, the TSU won 8.98% of the popular vote and earned three representatives to the Legislative Yuan, renewing its status as a credible third party in Taiwanese government. ...
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