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ELECTION 2024/KMT wins speakership, deputy speakership in newly sworn-in Legislature

02/01/2024 08:33 PM
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KMT lawmakers Han Kuo-yu (second right) and Johnny Chiang (right) are sworn in as the new legislative speaker and deputy speaker of the 11th Legislature in Taipei on Thursday. Photo: Legislative Yuan press corps Feb. 1, 2024
KMT lawmakers Han Kuo-yu (second right) and Johnny Chiang (right) are sworn in as the new legislative speaker and deputy speaker of the 11th Legislature in Taipei on Thursday. Photo: Legislative Yuan press corps Feb. 1, 2024

Taipei, Feb. 1 (CNA) Taiwan's new Legislature was sworn in Thursday, electing the Kuomintang's (KMT) Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) and Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) as speaker and deputy speaker, respectively.

Han entered the Legislative Yuan by being at the top of the Kuomintang's (KMT) legislator-at-large list in the legislative election on Jan. 13 and was elected Legislative speaker of the 11th Legislative Yuan.

Newly-elected Deputy Speaker Chiang is an elected legislator from Taichung.

Both Han and Chiang won with a plurality of 54 votes after respective two-candidate runoff votes on Thursday, likely with 52 from all KMT lawmakers and the backing of two independents.

They ran against the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) You Si-kun (游錫堃) and Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌), speaker and deputy speaker of the previous legislature, both of whom received 51 votes, corresponding to the party's 51 seats in the legislative body.

The runoff votes were triggered after Taiwan People's Party (TPP) lawmakers voted for their own candidate Huang Shan-shan (黃珊珊) for speaker and Chang Chi-kai (張啟楷) for vice speaker in the first rounds, leaving no candidates with a required majority.

The two candidates who received the most votes in the first round competed in a runoff vote, in which only a plurality of votes was required to win.

The eight TPP lawmakers abstained in both runoff votes.

During the first round vote for the speakership, a ballot was deemed invalid due to an ink mark. TPP Legislator Chen Gau-tzu (陳昭姿) later acknowledged in a social media post that she unknowingly smeared the ballot and apologized to the TPP caucus and supporters.

The vote for speaker took place before noon on Thursday while the ballot for deputy speaker was held in the afternoon.

Of the 113 seats in the Legislature, the KMT has 52, while the ruling DPP has 51, the TPP eight and there are two KMT-leaning independents.

It is widely believed that the KMT received the support of the two legislators with no party affiliation -- Indigenous lawmaker Kao Chin Su-mei (高金素梅) and former KMT Legislator Chen Chao-ming (陳超明), who ran as an independent after his party membership was suspended due to his involvement in a bribery case in which he was sentenced to over seven years and against which he has appealed.

The DPP's You resigned as a legislator-at-large on Thursday after losing the speakership to Han. He announced his resignation on the social media platform with a typed announcement, stating he will leave the legislature from Feb. 2.

You, speaker of the 10th Legislature, was sixth on the DPP's legislator-at-large list in the Jan. 13 legislative election.

His slot will be filled by the next candidate in line on the list, who is expected to be hematologist oncologist Wang Cheng-hsu (王正旭), chairman of the Hope Foundation for Cancer Care.

The DPP released a press statement following the speaker vote and You's resignation, congratulating the new speaker and saying the party respects the constitutional system and the result of the democratic election by the lawmakers.

The party said as the Legislative speaker, other than presiding over domestic legislative meetings, also represents the country's democratic representative body to the outside world, it expects Han to take over You's role in parliamentary diplomacy and continue to speak for Taiwan, guard its sovereignty and enhance its international status.

Han said after being elected speaker that he understands the immense responsibility that comes with the position, and undertook to lead a Legislative Yuan that seeks to "create happiness for Taiwanese people."

Han also extended his gratitude to You, who he said had made a great contribution to Taiwan's democracy over the past 42 years.

(By Alison Hsiao)

Enditem/AW

Lawmakers cast their ballot to choose a new deputy speaker in the Legislative Yuan in Taipei on Thursday. CNA photo Feb. 1, 2024
Lawmakers cast their ballot to choose a new deputy speaker in the Legislative Yuan in Taipei on Thursday. CNA photo Feb. 1, 2024
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