People's Party (Xiaodong)

Template:Underconstruction

People's Party
PresidentHu Wenjuan
Founded25th May 1988
Split fromDemocratic Party
Headquarters18 Pingxi Road, Huantang District, Baiqiao
NewspaperDemocratic Voice
Student wingPeoples Students Federation
Youth wingYoung People's Society
IdeologyReformism
Liberalism
Left-wing populism
Xiaodongese nationalism
Political positionCentrist to Centre-left
National affiliationUnited Democratic Appeal for Xiaodong
International affiliationUnion of Esquarian Liberals and Democrats
Colors     Green
State Presidium
23 / 215
Prefectural Congresses
355 / 922
Local Congress Seats
578 / 2,766
Mayoralties
3 / 19
Website
http://www.minzhongdang.com.xi

The People's Party (Xiaodongese: 人民党; Rénmín Dǎng) is a centre-left Xiaodongese political party. Formed in 1988 as a merger of pro-democracy organisations, the People's Party can be described as a big tent party that advocates liberal democracy having internal social democratic, liberal and conservative factions.

The oldest pro-democracy party in Xiaodong, the People's Party was founded as the Committee for the Co-ordination of Democrats in 1988 as a loose grouping for pro-democracy and centrist candidates for the 1988 election for the State Presidium of Xiaodong. Following the rise of the right-wing populist Millennium Progressive Party of Feng Zhenggao the People's Party became much more definitively left-liberal, being mainly seen as a party of "southern interests" under leaders Chen Xianfeng and Li Zhikai

Following the 2006 election the People's Party became the largest opposition party, and in 2009 confirmed this under the left-populist and nationalist leader Ye Jiuguo. In 2011 Ye managed to get the People's Party, liberal conservative Progressive Party, socialist Social Democratic League and Duljunese regionalist Duljunese Democratic Party to form the catch all pro-democracy United Democratic Appeal for Xiaodong.

In the 2016 election the People's Party got its highest share of seats ever with the UDA as a whole getting more votes than the Xiaodong Regeneration Society under Hu Wenjuan. However, after a failure to elect a new State Chairperson a snap election was held in which the People's Party lost seats; however, the election was widely decried as being rigged, resulting in most of the People's Party's preisidum delegates being arrested and imprisoned including party leader Hu. As a result, the People's Party are currently operating under a policy of abstentionism.

The People's Party ideologically are pro-liberal democratic and support political reform. Economically they tend to favour privatisation and marketisation alongside strong support for a welfare state, and tend to be centrist on social issues whilst dovish on foreign policy.

History

Origins

The People's Party's origins can be traced to the Xiaodongese Democracy Movement, a loose coalition that arouse in the mid-1980's. From 1934 Xiaodong had been under the single-party rule of the Xiaodong Regeneration Society, which in 1984 under Qian Xingwen launched the Xiandaihua (modernisation) policy which deregulated the Xiaodongese economy. Within the international context of the rapid collapse of communism in Esquarium and the Minjuha reforms in nearby Namor several student societies, trade unions and civic groups started to push for democratic reform within Xiaodong, creating the Democratic Union, a coalition of pro-democracy groups within Xiaodong.

With increasing pressure to reform the political system, Qian announced at the April 1987 Regeneration Society plenum that Xiaodong would amend the constitution to remove Article 8, which guaranteed the Regeneration Society's monopoly on power paving the way for multi-party elections and release thousands of political prisoners. A week after the plenum, dissident writer and human rights activist Chen Xianfeng returned from a 9 year exile in Tuthina to found the Xiaodongese Civic Society to contest in the then upcoming September elections alongside the Democratic Union. In June the Civic Society and the Democratic Union agreed to merge into one party in order to present a united front against the XGD. On the 12th June the Democratic Party was declared with Chen named as its first president, being elected unanimously by party members. The 1988 election was relatively cautious compared to later elections, with the People's Party's manifesto mainly being centred on radical democratisation and constitutional reform. The Regeneration Society's control of state institutions and iron grip on the media however resulted in the Regeneration Society to achieve a supermajority in the election - nevertheless the People's Party gained a reasonable 33 seats, becoming the first opposition party to sit in the State Presidium. Democratic Party leader Chen Xianfeng became the first Xiaodongese Leader of the Official Opposition.

However, there were increasing tensions between Chen and deputy leader Feng Zhengguo. At the time of the 1988 elections the Democratic Party was a catch-all party united only by its commitment to democratic and constitutional reform. Party organisation was highly decentralised with prefectual party branches being the main backbone and policy makers of the party, with the party's National Executive having very little power. During the early 1990's the Democratic Party leadership led by Chen Xianfeng largely encouraged this party model, believing that the Democratic Party should be internally democratic, otherwise it would be "compromising on democracy within Xiaodong". Chen himself was a democratic socialist and sympathised with the left wing of the Democratic Party, but tolerated the right wing of the party and resisted attempts to introduce centralised policy making organs. However Feng, an ex-Regeneration Society member believed in a more centralised leadership and strong national leadership. There was also a personality clash between Chen and Feng, who mistrusted each other.

In 1990, the party caucus held a leadership vote against Chen with the majority of the party's delegates voting for Feng as leader. Chen refused to resign as leader without holding a vote to the party's members, causing Feng and 18 of his supporters to split from the Democratic Party and form the right-wing Progressive Party. The 15 remaining Democratic Party delegates soon changed their party name to the People's Party, with Chen as party president.

Early parliamentary era

Chen Xianfeng, the People's Party founder and president at a byelection campaign in 2003

The 1990 election saw the People's Party lose one of its 15 delegates. Despite intense anger at the government's economic policies the opposition - divided between the Progressive, People's, Communist and Liberationist parties - was to fractured to be effective, resulting in the Regeneration Society to achieve another landslide victory. The People's Party failed in their aim to become the largest opposition party, as they had one less seat than the Progressive Party.

In March 1991 the People's Party's membership approved of a party constitution that saw the People's Party position itself as a centre-left party that called for a dynamic market economy as well as support for social justice and liberal democracy, being an early example of a party of the third way. The party also committed to elect its president through regular three year terms by the party membership and picking its candidates through a primary system, making it the most democratic of the Xiaodongese political parties.

Despite his reputation as a committed democrat, Chen was seen as a weak and academically remote leader by a large portion of the Xiaodongese electorate especially compared to the assertive and combative Feng Zhengguo of the Progressive Party. The 1933 election the People's Party performed below expectations, losing 3 seats. Following this Chen announced the aim of the People's Party should be to become the main opposition party by the next election. However, the 1998 general election saw the People's Party gains seats but remain almost 10 seats behind the Progressive Party resulting in Chen to resign as party leader.

Modern period

Following Chen's resignation Ye Jiuguo was elected as party leader, being seen as a young, charismatic leader. An avowed social democrat Ye sought to reform the People's Party internal structure, hoping to create a more solid policy making unit as well as streamline party functions, seeking to transform the People's Party image into one fit for government. His first decision was to propose amendments to the party constitution giving more power to the National Executive whilst also overseeing the creation of the Central Policy Unit, which drafted official party policy. At a party conference in 2001 Ye's amendments were approved by 70% of the party. Ye's charismatic personality, appeals to populism and straightforward manner of speaking proved to be popular with the voters compared to his more academic predecessors.

In the run-up to the 2002 general election the People's Party polled up to 25% of the vote, the highest it had ever polled. As such the 2001 campaign became the most coordinated of the People's Party at that point with the Xiaodong Daily calling it "slick, almost presidential" with Ye being the centre-piece of the campaign. However, the People's Party only saw a modest increase in votes and seats - Ye put himself up for re-election, but was re-elected party leader.

The 2006 election saw the People's Party lose seats as the Regeneration Society achieved a landslide victory - however, the People's Party's share of the vote remained firm whilst the Progressive Party lost the majority of its seats, resulting in Ye to become leader of the opposition. In the 2009 election the People's Party almost doubled its seats and reaffirmed itself as the largest opposition party. In March 2010 Ye struck a deal with the Progressive and Social Democratic parties to form the United Democratic Appeal for Xiaodong, a big tent electoral alliance intended to co-ordinate the activities of pro-democracy parties. During the 2011 the People's Party used a social media campaign and targeted key regions in order to win votes, with Ye's personal popularity being a significant boost for the People's Party. Ye's strategy paid off when the People's Party gained the second most amount of seats in the State Presidium at 36. The Regeneration Society lost 19 seats in what was seen as a political miscalculation as the snap election had led to a unified opposition.

In 2014 Ye resigned from the party leadership being replaced by social democrat Hu Wenjuan the first women to become the leader of a major political party in Xiaodong. Being located on the "soft left" of the party under Hu the People's Party has adopted a social democratic and environmentalist agenda. Hu has consistently emphasised that there should responsible capitalism with increased state intervention in the economy, and has continually identified the dang wangluo as the biggest problem in Xiaodongese politics which has resulted in the People's Party to recover its standing in opinion polls. With declining support to Regeneration Society rule the People's Party has subsequently risen in the opinion polls, with Hu being rated as the most popular party leader in Xiaodong.

In the 2016 general election the People's Party got the second most amount of votes of any party, with 7,678,576 people voting for them in single-member districts and 7,302,175 in multi-member districts giving them 60 seats. The UDA as a whole got a plurality of votes but only 89 seats to the Regeneration Society's 100 due to gerrymandering. Nevertheless the election saw the Regeneration Society lose its majority prompting the People's Party to nominate an independent UDA delegate and former lawyer Li Zheng for the position of Chairperson of the State Presidium of Xiaodong. Neither Li nor the Regeneration Society's candidate Yuan Xiannian reached the necessary amount of delegates needed to become State Chairman, leading to a snap election to be held in 2017. The 2017 election saw the the People's Party lose 11 seats and the UDA as a whole 18 whilst the Regeneration Society gained 22 giving it a slim majority, despite polls showing the UDA and Alliance for Democracy having a consistent lead in the polls prior to the election. This alongside reports of massive electoral fraud led many to conclude the election was rigged, resulting in the People's Party to refuse to take its seats in the State Presidium in a policy of abstentionism. The People's Party supported the 2017 protests, and denounced the following crackdown by the government.

As part of Normalisation 24 People's Party delegates including party leader Hu Wenjuan being arrested and two fleeing Xiaodong. Since then the future of the party has been in doubt as senior members of government have called for it to be banned.

Ideology

The People's Party styles itself as a party of the radical centre that's principles are based around liberal democracy, rule of law and civil liberties. The People's Party is largely split on several key issues being a coalition of social liberals, liberal conservatives, economic liberals, progressives, social democrats and democratic socialists. Broadly the People's Party advocates for a mixed economy with strong public utilities such as universal healthcare, universal education and a welfare state alongside a dynamic free market.

The People's Party has often engaged in populist politics, and often uses nationalist rhetoric. Political scientist Shao Panshi has stated the People's Party is left-wing populist and uses a form of anti-imperialism, especially towards Tuthina whom they accuse of being an "imperialist power" over Xiaodong.

Economic policies

The People's Party officially supports an "economy that works for all and ensure both fairness and dynamism". The People's Party's economic policy is broadly based around a neoliberal welfare state and has been called a "classic example of the third way".

The People's Party support the privatisation of most state owned enterprises such as the Xiaodongese Mining Confederation on the basis they exert to much influence over government policy, as well as supporting deregulation. However the People's Party do support the nationalisation of some services such as healthcare, making them supporters of a mixed market economy.

The People's Party are the most pro-free trade party in Xiaodong, believing tariffs hamper competition and hurt consumers. However, they do believe in protective subsidies for industry so it not hurt by globalisation. Like the Regeneration Society the People's Party support export-led industrialisation and heavily opposed to "failed" policies such as autarky.

In terms of welfare the People's Party are centre-left supporting universal healthcare as a basic right and supporting the creation of a welfare state. They are believe in lowering tuition fees from the current rate of 金534,480 to 金133,620. In terms of taxation, the People's Party proposes to implement progressive taxation with two brackets and to keep taxes "as low as possible".

Social policies

The People's Party has been associated with moderately progressive social policies, but also has a strong social conservative wing meaning in practice they are centrist on social issues. Generally the People's Party is seen as more liberal than the Xiaodong Regeneration Society or Progressive Party, but more conservative than the Social Democratic League.

Most prominently the People's Party has committed to ensuring women's rights. The People's Party want to require both private and state employers to pay the same wage to women as they are to men for equal work (currently the only state employers are required to do so), and want to lengthen maternity leave as well as liberalise abortion laws. However, the People's Party have been criticised for sometimes exhibiting sexist rhetoric.

The People's Party is opposed to both civil unions or gay marriage. Former party leader Chen Xianfeng stated he was "uncomfortable" with homosexuality but "did not believe in discrimination against those with differing sexual orientation". Current party president Hu Wenjuan affirmed that the People's Party support current laws regarding LGBT+ rights and that it was a "non-issue" in Xiaodongese politics, a stance that has been criticised by LGBT+ advocacy groups.

Constitutional reform

The People's Party support radically reforming Xiaodong's governmental structure. When founded, the People's Party wanted a presidential system with a bicameral National Assembly elected through party-list proportional representation but over time they have amended their positions to support a semi-parliamentary system with mixed-member proportional representation. They support the abolition of the Examination Secretariat for elected officials.

Foreign policy

On foreign policy issues, former party leader Li Zhikai called for Xiaodong to have "a thousand friends and zero enemies". The People's Party has traditionally been supportive of international organisations such as the Organisation of Esquarian Nations and the Esquarian Community. The People's Party is the only party to consistently support Xiaodongese membership of the EC, although they believe Xiaodong should only enter the EC through a referendum.

The People's Party support a form of détente with Senria "within reason" but have criticised the Treaty of Keishi as being unreasonable and against Xiaodongese interests. People's Party president Hu Wenjuan called Senrian Prime Minister Hayato Nisimura "bad news" and accused him of unnecessarily inciting tensions between Xiaodong and Senria. The People's Party has in recent years been extremely critical of Senria with former President Ye Jiuguo calling Senria a "third rate country".

Numerous People's Party presidents have criticised Tuthina's influence in Xiaodong. The People's Party supports withdrawal from the Tengkong system on the grounds it is a Tuthinian organisation for Tuthinian interests.

Organisation

Factions

The People's Party is known for its numerous factions that are based around both ideological aims and personal loyalty. This is partly as a result of the People's Party being the largest non-Regeneration Society political party in Xiaodong, which means former members of the Regeneration Society who left the organisation for various reasons often join the People's Party to further their careers, as well as being the main locus for those opposed to Regeneration Society rule. As such the People's Party contains numerous factions often of conflicting interests.

  • Democratic Reform Committee - Led by Hu Wenjuan, the current leader of the People's Party. It is a moderate centre-left faction that supports social democracy and Xiaodongese nationalism, being anti-Senrian and pro-reform. Considered to be on the left wing of the party. Currently has 9 members in the State Presidium.
  • National Development Group - Led by current Secretary-General Jiang Luanhe. A national conservative faction that supports progressive economics and neo-revisionism. The largest right-wing faction, with 7 members in the State Presidium.
  • Xiaodongese Council of Progress - Led by former leader Ye Jiuguo. Strongly populist with centre-left and nationalist tendencies. Considered to be on the left of the party, although shares similarities with the National Development Group. Currently has 4 members of the State Presidium.
  • Huyuan Council - Led by State Presidium delegate Feng Rouchang. A moderate centrist group that supports third way and a softer policy on Senria. Formerly led by Chen Xianfeng and Li Zhikai. Considered to be in the centre of the party. Currently has 2 members in the State Presidium.
  • Liberal Democratic Committee - Led by Mayor of Baiqiao Li Zhisui. A liberal grouping that supports deregulation, neoliberalism and greater government accountability. Considered to be on the right of the party and has a single member in the State Presidium.

Voter base

President

The President (主席; zhǔ xí) is the leader of the People's Party. The president is elected every four years with Presidents only being allowed to run for two consecutive terms.

No. Name
(Born–Died)
Portrait Term in Office Mandate Notes
1 Chen Xianfeng
陈先锋

(1936-)
Martin Lee 2014 cut.jpg 12th June 1990 30th June 2002 1990
1994
Leader of the Opposition 1988-1990
2 Li Zhikai
李志凯

(1952-)
Emiliy Lau in 2015.jpg 30th June 1998 6th December 2006 1998
2002
Leader of the Opposition 2006.
3 Ye Jiuguo
葉酒国

(1957-)
Lee Wing-tat 2017.jpg 6th December 2006 24th May 2010 2006 Leader of the opposition 2006-2010.
(1) Chen Xianfeng
陈先锋]]
(1936-)
Martin Lee 2014 cut.jpg 24th May 2010 18th May 2010 2010 Leader of the opposition 2010-2015.
4 Hu Wenjuan
胡温倦

(1965-)
60px 18th May 2014 Incumbent 2014 Leadership of the Opposition 2014-2017.

Electoral results

Election Leader # of seats won # of Single-member district vote % of Single-member district vote # of Multi-member district vote % of Multi-member district vote Outcome of election
1988 Chen Xianfeng
28 / 215
TBA TBA% TBA TBA% Increase 28 seats; Opposition
1990 Chen Xianfeng
14 / 215
TBA TBA% TBA TBA% Decrease 18 seats; Opposition
1993 Chen Xianfeng
14 / 215
TBA TBA% TBA TBA% Increase 4 seats; Opposition
1998 Li Zhikai
16 / 215
TBA TBA% TBA TBA% Increase 2 seats; Opposition
2002 Li Zhikai
18 / 215
TBA TBA% TBA TBA% Increase 2 seats; Opposition
2006 Li Zhikai
20 / 215
TBA TBA% TBA TBA% Increase 2 seats; Opposition
2009 Ye Jiuguo
24 / 215
4,411,176 13.75% 4,135,277 12.89% Increase 4 seats; Opposition
2011
As part of the DA
Chen Xianfeng
36 / 215
3,788,999 12.84% 2,397,624 11.2% Increase 12 seats; Opposition
2016
As part of the UDA
Hu Wenjuan
60 / 215
7,678,576 20.4% 7,302,175 19.4% Increase 24 seats; Opposition
2017
As part of the UDA
Hu Wenjuan
49 / 215
6,323,868 17.29% 6,162,937 15.85% Decrease 11 seats; Opposition

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