New Power Party (NPP) Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) announced his departure from the party today. A founding leader of the NPP, Lim, 43, will run for his district re-election in Taipei as an independent. He will also support President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in her 2020 presidential race.

With only five remaining months until Taiwan's presidential election, Lim said he was unable to convince the NPP to rally behind one candidate to fend off the opposing party Kuomintang (KMT).

"Facing China's looming threats and oppression, Taiwan is on the cliff of danger and we can only fight our battle without backing off," Lim wrote on his Facebook. "Based on Taiwan's national interests, I have no doubt in supporting Tsai Ing-wen, a candidate who is not pro-China."

In the past, Lim often wore NPP's yellow jacket on public occasions. He appeared in Legislative Yuan today in a black suit for his announcement and expressed that he has been anxious in the past months over his decision to leave.

Lim said he failed to reach a consensus within NPP in regards to issues like how NPP should collaborate with other political parties and whether NPP should publicly support President Tsai in her re-election. Although a few NPP legislators like Huang Yu-fen (黃郁芬) have already signed a petition to support Tsai, other NPP members who are Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) supporters have been reluctant to make any moves, according to Lim.

"This is why I could not keep my discussion with the party's central committee. I cannot convince the committee with my path so I should think about how to move on in my own way," Lim told the press.

Central News Agency reported that on July 30 Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Deputy Secretary-General Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) had attended a youth political training program, where he was asked how he would assist the DPP in joining forces with the NPP. Lin said that every political party has its subjectivity and that conflicts and competition are unavoidable when it comes to election affairs; the main goal, however, should be "minimizing the KMT's chance in winning the presidential election."

Just before Lim's announcement, DPP's 2020 Nomination Strategy Team (民進黨提名策略小組) decided yesterday that the DPP would not nominate any candidate in three Taipei districts, two of which are currently represented by NPP legislators, Freddy Lim and Hung Tzu-yung (洪慈庸).

In response to Lim's departure, NPP Chairman Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智) said he was saddened by Lim's decision to leave and praised him as an outstanding legislator. He would try to convince Lim to stay to "fight for Taiwan together."

Chiu said that defending local political power and opposing any pro-China party has been NPP's mission since its founding five years ago. According to Chiu, NPP's central committee has made a decision today to support President Tsai in continuing and reforming Taiwan's local governance.

“As the NPP chairman, as Freddy Lim's comrade, I sincerely wish Lim can stay with us and work on searching for the answer together," Chiu said. "We don't have the luxury to divide our powers."

TNL Editor: Lea Yang (@thenewslensintl)

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