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Legislature passes Political Party Act

2017/11/10 17:57:27

CNA file photo

Taipei, Nov. 10 (CNA) The Legislative Yuan passed the Political Party Act on Friday following the required three readings for a bill, giving Taiwan a direct legal framework to govern the operations of political parties.

Political parties have been governed since 1989 by the Civil Associations Act, which broadly manages various types of associations including political ones, but that statute was seen as having limitations in dealing with such issues as the opposition Kuomintang's party assets.

The new Political Party Act, which will take effect once the Presidential Office formally announces it, typically within a few weeks, clearly stipulates what political parties can and cannot do, with the goal being to promote fair political competition and the healthy governance of political parties.

Among its key clauses is one that prohibits political parties from managing or investing in for-profit businesses. This includes the purchase of real estate, though office space is exempt.

This clause sets a fine of NT$5 million (US$165,500) to NT$25 million for parties caught violating this rule.

Another key clause deals with the subsidies parties are eligible to receive if they have seats in the Legislature.

According to the act, the threshold for votes that political parties need to get in legislative elections to qualify for subsidies is set at 3 percent of the total votes cast.

This 0.5-point reduction from the previous 3.5 percent threshold means that any political party that obtains 3 percent or more of the total votes cast in a legislative election will be eligible for a subsidy of NT$50 per vote annually over a four-year period.

On the subject of elections, the act notes that parties that do not nominate members for public elections for four consecutive years will automatically be removed from the country's registry of political parties.

(By Chen Chun-hua and Kuan-lin Liu)