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ELECTION 2024/No party gets legislative majority; small TPP to play key role

01/13/2024 11:41 PM
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CNA photo Jan. 13, 2024
CNA photo Jan. 13, 2024

Taipei, Jan. 13 (CNA) Neither of Taiwan's two major parties won an absolute majority in the Legislative Yuan on Saturday, leaving the upstart Taiwan People's Party in a position to influence the inner workings of the 113-seat body.

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which has had an outright majority in the Legislature over the past eight years, lost 11 seats, including 10 held by incumbents, to finish with 51, while the Kuomintang (KMT) gained 15 seats to 52.

Two independents ideologically leaning toward the KMT were also elected, leaving the final eight seats, all at-large legislators based on a separate vote for political parties, to the Taiwan People's Party (TPP) led by former Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲).

It was three more than the five the TPP has had the past four years, but the new distribution of seats means Ko will have a major say in which party the legislative speaker will come from, a key post given the speaker's power to direct the agenda and get the different caucuses to work together.

Ko's party will also have the votes to support or block legislation, but it is unclear what strategy the party will adopt and how focused it will be on legislating rather than on trying to carve out its own brand.

The last time no party had an absolute majority was in 2004, when Taiwan's Legislature had 225 seats. The DPP had 89 seats, the KMT 79, the People First Party (PFP) 34, and the Taiwan Solidarity Union 12.

The KMT continued to work in a coalition with the PFP that began in 2001 to dominate legislative proceedings and serve as a check on some of the policies of then DPP President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

Though the TPP gained an additional three seats Saturday, the election was a disaster for other small parties, with the other 13 parties competing for seats all shut out.

The New Power Party (NPP), which held three seats entering Saturday, won only 2.57 percent of the party vote for at-large seats, well short of the 5 percent threshold needed to win seats.

Also, neither of its candidates in Hsinchu City and Hsinchu County won election in their districts.

Taipei

In notable individual races, one of Taiwan's first-ever openly lesbian councilors, Miao Po-ya (苗博雅) of the Social Democratic Party, who had the DPP's backing, lost in Taipei's 6th electoral district (Daan District) to the KMT's Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強).

KMT legislator-elect Lo Chih-chiang (third, from the left)
KMT legislator-elect Lo Chih-chiang (third, from the left)

The pro-independence Taiwan Statebuilding Party's Wu Hsin-tai (吳欣岱) challenged the support base of incumbent DPP Legislator Kao Chia-yu (高嘉瑜) in Taipei's 4th electoral district (Neihu/Nangang), contributing to a win for the KMT's Lee Yan-hsiu (李彥秀).

Kao edged Lee in 2020 in a strong year for DPP candidates by just under 3 percentage points.

In Taipei's 5th electoral district (Wanhua/Zhongzheng), where incumbent Freddy Lim (林昶佐) joined the DPP last year but did not seek re-election, a total of 10 candidates competed for the seat -- the most of any electoral district in the country.

The DPP's Wu Pei-yi (吳沛憶) won the race with 39.81 percent of the vote, topping Chung Hsiao-ping (鍾小平) of the KMT, who had 34.3 percent support, and media personality Belle Yu (于美人), who run as an independent and garnered 23.1 percent support.

DPP legislator-elect Wu Pei-yi
DPP legislator-elect Wu Pei-yi

Hsinchu, Taichung

Hsinchu City was another district that saw a close battle between the two main parties, as their support bases were also challenged by NPP candidate Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智) and TPP Chairman Ko Wen-je's (柯文哲) sister Ko Mei-lan (柯美蘭), who ran as an independent.

The incumbent, Cheng Cheng-chien (鄭正鈐) of the KMT won by 3.4 percentage points over DPP candidate Lin Chih-chieh (林志潔). Ko finished third, followed by Chiu.

In Taichung, the TPP's Tsai Pi-ru (蔡壁如), who had the strong backing of the KMT and KMT Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕), nearly pulled off a major upset, losing to the DPP's incumbent deputy Legislative Speaker Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) by 4.5 percentage points.

Tsai Chi-chang won the seat in 2020 by a 37-point margin.

Kaohsiung

In Kaohsiung, 30-year-old Huang Jie (黃捷) of the DPP stepped into the ring after three-term DPP Legislator Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) ended his re-election bid following an extramarital affair scandal with a Chinese woman.

Huang successfully kept the seat for the DPP and will be Taiwan's first openly lesbian legislator.

Huang Jie becomes Taiwan's first openly gay legislator

Meanwhile, two seats were won by candidates with no party affiliation.

Independent lawmakers Chen Chao-ming (陳超明), a former KMT lawmaker, and Indigenous Legislator May Chin (高金素梅), who is also ideologically aligned with the KMT, were both re-elected.

Of the DPP's 51 seats won Saturday, 36 were from single-member districts, two were from Indigenous constituencies, and 13 were elected as at-large legislators based on the political party vote.

The KMT also won 36 single-member district constituencies, three Indigenous seats, and 13 at-large seats.

TPP supporters
TPP supporters

(By Alison Hsiao)

Enditem/ls

Update

▶ DPP wins presidency but loses majority in Legislature

▶ No party gets legislative majority; small TPP to play key role

▶ KMT's Hou calls for national unity post-election

Election day blog: Taiwan chooses a new president

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