Having finally won local election seats in late 2014, could the GPT follow up and make a similar national election breakthrough in January 2016? What better way to mark the party’s twentieth anniversary than re-entering parliament? However, the political environment facing the GPT was quite different from the previous rounds of national elections in 2012 or 2008. In the aftermath of the Sunflower Movement, the GPT had to face not only potential competition from at least four new movement parties but also a revived and rebranded DPP. Therefore, a major challenge facing the GPT’s leadership was what kind of alliance strategy should be adopted that would allow it to win election without compromising its core party values.
I start this chapter by looking at the process that ultimately led to the GPT SDP Alliance. There were numerous potential alliance or merger scenarios, as well as the possibility of just going it alone. I will review the complex and at times contradictory trends that led to the formation of this election alliance. Next, I return to the ‘what is the GPT?’ question by examining the contents of the Alliance’s campaign message and strategies. We saw in 2008 how the alliance with Raging Citizens changed the GPT’s appeals. So, given that the alliance with the SDP was a more equal one, it is not surprising to see considerable change in the GPT’s 2016 appeals compared to 2012 as well as to 2014. I then devote the largest part of the chapter to my question of how best to explain the GPT’s electoral fortunes. To what extent can mainstream party approaches explain the GPT’s limited progress in the 2016 elections? Or does the answer lie in the quality of the GPT’s own campaign?