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ELECTION 2024/Taiwan's continued progress hinges on DPP legislative majority: Lai

01/06/2024 03:20 PM
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Lai Ching-te (center), who represents the Democratic Progressive Party in the 2024 presidential election, speaks at a campaign in Changhua County Friday evening. CNA photo Jan. 5, 2024
Lai Ching-te (center), who represents the Democratic Progressive Party in the 2024 presidential election, speaks at a campaign in Changhua County Friday evening. CNA photo Jan. 5, 2024

Taipei, Jan. 6 (CNA) Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德), the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) 2024 presidential candidate, urged supporters Friday to ensure that the party maintains its legislative majority, saying that is crucial to Taiwan's continued development.

Lai, who is also the party's chairman, said at a rally in Nantou County that the DPP administration has been able to implement various defense and social welfare policies over the past eight years because of the support it has in the Legislature, where the party holds a strong majority.

Under the leadership of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who is now about to complete her maximum two terms in office, Taiwan has built several T-BE5A Brave Eagle advanced jet trainers and launched a prototype of the country's first indigenous submarine the Hai Kun (海鯤), or "Narwhal," Lai said.

At the same time, he said, the government has steadily raised the minimum wage in Taiwan, from NT$20,008 (US$646) in 2016 to NT$27,470 currently, and has expanded the child-rearing subsidies, he said.

Urging the electorate to vote for him and his party, Lai said the DPP will have to obtain at least 57 seats in the 113-seat Legislature to maintain its majority and thus continue its current progressive policies without disruption.

The DPP has maintained its hold on the executive and legislative branches of government over the past eight years, but election analysts are projecting that no single political party will win more than half of the 113 legislative seats in the Jan. 13 elections, when voters will also choose a new president.

At Friday night's rally, Lai said that if the DPP fails to retain a majority in the Legislature, the next Legislative speaker is likely to be former Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), who is at the top of opposition Kuomintang's (KMT) list of at-large legislators.

While the KMT and the smaller opposition Taiwan People's Party failed to form a joint presidential ticket for the upcoming election, they have indicated a desire to forge an alliance in the Legislature to achieve a majority and to endorse Han for the speakership, Lai said.

Han was removed from his post as Kaohsiung mayor in a recall vote shortly after losing the 2020 presidential election to Tsai by a significant margin of 18.5 percent.

The DPP has painted Han as a "pro-China" politician, after he visited Beijing's liaison office in Hong Kong in March 2019 and met with Chinese officials, becoming the first Taiwanese local government leader to do so.

(By Wu Che-hao and Teng Pei-ju)

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