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Younger generation set to remake Taiwan's Legislature

2016/01/17 01:28:04

Taipei, Jan. 17 (CNA) Taiwan's two major parties will continue to dominate Taiwan's legislative body after Saturday's national elections, but there will be several fresh faces hoping to change how business is done when they take office on Feb. 1.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won 68 seats in the 113-seat Legislature, turning the previous majority party, the Kuomintang (KMT), into the main opposition bloc with only 35 seats.

The New Power Party, a new party that came into being after the 2014 Sunflower Movement, managed to garner five seats to become the third largest caucus ahead of the People First Party's three seats. The other two seats went to independents.

The biggest loser was the KMT, whose performance in power over the past seven-odd years was so disappointing that voters simply used their ballots to punish it, said Chen Yi-hsin (陳一新), a Tamkang University professor and political commentator.

Veteran KMT lawmakers such as Ting Shou-chung and Lin Yu-fang, known for their professional and dedicated service, were defeated by younger-generation rivals in their respective constituencies in Taipei.

Other long-time KMT lawmakers that were unseated include Lee Ching-hua, Wang Chih-hsiung and Wu Yu-sheng in New Taipei, Chen Ken-te in Taoyuan, Yang Chiung-ying in Taichung, Wang Chin-shih in Pingtung County, and Wang Ting-son in Hualien County, which used to be a KMT or pan-blue stronghold.

Replacing these KMT legislators will be younger-generation newcomers, including three New Power Party candidates -- Huang Kuo-chang, who beat Lee Ching-hua; Freddy Lim who defeated Lin Yu-fang; and Hung Tzu-yung, who pulled down Yang Chiung-ying.

Heavy metal star Freddy Lim elected legislator
Huang beats KMT incumbent in New Taipei's 12th district
Hung Tzu-yung unseats KMT veteran legislator in Taichung



With the DPP taking an absolute majority of legislative seats, pundits have started guessing who will take the speaker job.

Among the names being considered are the DPP's Ker Chien-ming, who earned a hard-won regional seat in Hsinchu City; Su Jia-chyuan, president-elect Tsai Ing-wen's campaign manager; or even the KMT's Wang Jin-pyng, who has been legislative speaker since 1999.

If unified, the DPP caucus, can easily win both the speaker and deputy speaker seats of the Legislature.

But given its "compromise" tradition, which saw a minor party lawmaker - PFP's Chung Jung-chi - acting as deputy speaker from 2005-2008, and Tsai's promise of "not taking all posts" in the new government, the new Legislature could see a Ker-Wang pair as speaker and deputy speaker.

That would be a disappointing leadership lineup, at least in the eyes of New Power Party's maverick young turks who have vowed to bring "new politics" to Taiwan's highest lawmaking body.

"I ask you, Taiwan's voters who have made our democracy stronger, to keep an eye on our caucus' performance and behavior," said Huang Kuo-chang, the party's chairman upon winning his seat in his Xizhi hometown in New Taipei.

"To take care of the future of the next generation, we promise to insist on our policy proposals, our ideas and our sense of right and wrong," Huang said. "We promise to bring positive forces into our parliament."

His hope for a new political culture in Taiwan was echoed by the DPP's Wu Szu-yao, who upset KMT's Ting Shou-chung in Taipei's Shilin and Beitou districts and went on to declare that her victory symbolized "the victory of new politics."

"I pledge to transcend the old thinking characterized by the blue-green divide that had plunged Taiwan into an endless fighting over ethnic groups, bloodlines and partisan interests," Wu said. "I will be a representative of Taiwan's new politics."

(By S.C. Chang; click here for the full coverage of the elections.)
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