The Pan-Blue Coalition, or Pan-Blue Force (Chinese: 泛藍軍; pinyin: fàn lán jūn), is a political coalition in early 21st century Taiwan, consisting of the Kuomintang (KMT), the People First Party (PFP), and the tiny New Party (CNP). The name comes from the party colors of the Kuomintang. This coalition tends to favor a Chinese nationalist identity over a Taiwanese separatist one and favors a softer policy and greater economic linkage with the People's Republic of China. It is opposed to the Pan-Green Coalition.
Logo used by the Lien-Soong ticket in the 2004 presidential election campaign.
Although the Pan-Blue Coalition is originally associated with Chinese reunification, in reality both the KMT and the PFP is simply adopting a much more conservative position. The two parties are still staunchly defending the sovereignty of the Republic of China, though not Taiwan. In any case, much of the support and opposition to the coalition has nothing to do with relations with Mainland China. For example, support for the coalition among the poor and Taiwanese aboriginals is high because of the patronage networks that the coalition maintains.
Throughout the 1990s, the Kuomintang consisted of an uneasy relationship between those which supported a Chinese nationalist identity for Taiwan and those, led by President Lee Teng-hui, who supported a stronger Taiwanese separatist identity. This led to a split in the early 1990s, when the New Party was formed. During the 2000 presidential election, Lee Teng-hui arranged for Lien Chan to be nominated as Kuomintang candidate for president rather than the more popular James Soong, who bolted from the party and formed his own People First Party. Many in Taiwan believed that Lee's action was a deliberate attempt to sabotage the Kuomintang to ensure victory for Chen Shui-bian of the DPP.
In the 2000 presidential election itself, the split in Kuomintang votes between Soong and Lien led in part to the election of Chen Shui-bian. After the election, there was widespread anger within the Kuomintang against Lee Teng-hui, who was expelled and formed his own pro-Taiwan independence party, the Taiwan Solidarity Union. After Lee's expulsion, the Kuomintang moved its policies back to a more conservative one and began informal but close cooperation with the People First Party and the New Party. This coalition became informally known as the Pan-Blue Coalition. Although the members of the Pan-Blue Coalition maintain separate party structures, they closely cooperate in large part to ensure that electoral strategies are coordinated, so that votes are not split among them leading to a victory by the Pan-Green Coalition.
The KMT and PFP ran a combined ticket in the 2004 presidential elections with Lien Chan running for president and James Soong running for vice president. The campaign emblem for the Lien-Soong campaign was a two seat bicycle with a blue (the color of the KMT) figure in the first seat and an orange (the color of the PFP) figure in the second.
There have been talks that the KMT and the PFP would merge into one party in February 2005, though negotiations are still underway. In the 2004 legislative election the three parties from the pan-blue coalition organized themselves to properly divide up the votes (配票) to prevent splitting the vote. The result was that the KMT gained 11 more seats and the PFP lost 12 seats. Right after the election, PFP chairman James Soong began criticizing the KMT for sacrificing the PFP for its own gains and stated that he would not participate in any negotiations regarding to the two parties' merge. Soong's remarks have been strongly criticized by the KMT, a majority of PFP members, and the New Party, whose rank and file were largely absorbed by the PFP following the 2001 elections. Most do not want to see another rift in the coalition.
- KMT: Pan-Blue Alliance (http://www.kmt.org.tw/Aboutus/English/Aboutus-12-8.html)
- Lien Chan: KMT-PFP News Release (http://www.lien.org.tw/English/i0803.asp)