Case Study: Green Party, Taiwan

The Green Party of Taiwan (GPT) was established in January 1966, becoming the first Green party in Asia. Since then, it has engaged extensively with the wider environmental movement and has seen some electoral success, winning three local council races and 2.4% of the votes in the 2020 national elections. The GPT has prioritized youth outreach and recruitment, which has strengthened its engagement with its core constituencies. 


Young people’s participation in political parties is declining globally as they turn to informal participation in single-issue political and social movements. Like many other political parties, the GPT has had to look for new and innovative ways of engaging with youth, which form both its voter base and its party leadership. Historically, the GPT’s recruitment has faced obstacles due to its overreliance on a small base of key members and its lack of formalized methods to continuously recruit candidates and new members. Between 2000 and 2005, the GPT almost became defunct when many party leaders left for overseas studies.


The GPT revamped its appeal in the 2010s by appealing to younger voters with a progressive and alternative agenda, for instance on LGBTQI+ rights and issues related to the resurgence of Taiwanese national identity. The GPT has also invested significantly in the recruitment of young people as party campaigners, candidates, and leaders. In particular, the GPT has leveraged its involvement in the international environmental movement to recruit young talent. For instance, the 2010 Asia-Pacific Greens Congress attracted young volunteers, one of whom would later be a candidate and co-convenor. In the domestic arena, younger members are also being recruited through existing social movements. Besides the environmental movement, GPT candidates participate in the youth, student, feminist, and LGBTQI+ movements.

Another strategy used for youth mobilization and recruitment has been the GPT’s increasing online and social media presence.  The launch of their Youtube channel in 2010 that marked the beginning of a stronger online presence. Youtube videos would feature figures from alternative youth culture and youth activists from social movements such as the Sunflower Movement. By 2014, online platforms had become the main forum of political campaigning. The success of GPT’s internet campaigning was seen in Wang Hau-yu’s 2014 local election campaign.  He ran the campaign through a Facebook page called “I am a Chungli Person” which engaged with everyday issues of local governance. The Facebook page received 260,000 likes and Wang became one of the youngest local councilors ever elected in Taiwan in 2014. By 2019, he was probably the most well-known councilor across Taiwan, and he was the dominant figure in the GPT between 2016 and 2020.


GPTs youth engagement strategies in the 2010s undeniably proved to be successful. Youth engagement has continued to grow in more recent years, providing a pool of motivated candidates and party leaders. For instance, in 2021 there was an internal vacuum of leadership positions which was filled by young newcomers who had recently won local elections. The GPT’s recruitment of young candidates has proven to be a successful mobilizing strategy as it continues to see its prominence grow.  
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