Sat, Feb 02, 2002 - Page 1 News List

Anger greets KMT's clean sweep

ELECTIONS FOR SPEAKER The KMT's Wang Jyn-ping enjoyed overwhelming support in yesterday's ballot, while the DPP's Hong Chi-chang lost his bid for vice speakership after a rowdy afternoon session

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Incumbent legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng, center, was re-elected yesterday with an unprecedented 218 votes during the legislature's election for speaker yesterday morning.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

While legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) of the KMT scored a landslide victory in his bid for re-election yesterday, the DPP's Hong Chi-chang (洪奇昌) lost the race for vice speakership by a narrow margin amid physical and verbal clashes.

The loss of the vice-speakership was greeted with anger by the DPP.

Wang received a total of 218 votes -- a resounding 97 percent of the ballot -- making him the most popular legislative speaker in history to win re-election.

Hong, who received 108 votes in the first round, eventually lost to the KMT's Chiang Ping-kun (江丙坤) by nine votes in the second round.

A second round was held because neither candidate managed to secure enough votes to win outright.

With 225 seats in the legislature, a candidate needs to garner more than half of the total number, or 113 votes, to win.

After offering his congratulations to the new speaker and vice speaker, Hong said that he hoped the new partnership would work with opposition parties to increase legislative efficiency and improve the image of the lawmaking body.

"The end of these elections marks the beginning of a brand new political climate," Hong said.

Wang declared himself victorious by the time his vote tally reached 113.

Of the seven votes Wang failed to secure, one each went to the DPP's Lu Po-chi (盧博基), Hong Chi-chang, Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄) and Wang Sing-nan (王幸男). The KMT's Chiang Ping-kun received one vote, while the remaining two were classed as invalid.

When asked yesterday afternoon before the vice speaker's election whether he would endorse Hong, Wang said only that that he would "respect the choice of the people."

Before the election for speakership began at 10:30am, the DPP legislative caucus held a meeting to publicly endorse Wang in the hope that he would reciprocate the goodwill and endorse Hong's bid in the vice speakership race.

"The DPP showed a tremendous amount of goodwill by unanimously supporting Wang. By the same token, we hope to see this goodwill reciprocated," Hong said.

Hong said that the decision was made for the sake of legislative stability.

"We'd like to see Wang not just re-elected, but by an overwhelming majority. In addition, we'd like to see him remain politically neutral should he be re-elected," he said.

Asked whether the DPP caucus had reached any agreement with the KMT on the matter, Hong said that the KMT should "get the message" although they had not signed any official agreement with them.

DPP legislative whip Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌琅) said that he was confident and optimistic that Hong would win the vice speakership yesterday afternoon.

"I'm sure there are many KMT members who agree with us that only DPP-KMT cooperation can improve the relationship between the executive and legislative branches," Tsai said.

In contrast to the DPP's act of goodwill, the KMT held a caucus meeting at midday to warn party members that they risked losing their party membership should they vote for non-KMT candidates.

"The caucus has unanimously approved supporting Chiang's bid for the vice-speakership. Those who fail to act in accordance face the consequence of having their membership revoked," said party spokesman Wu Ching-ji (吳清基).

Although voting went smoothly in the morning, verbal and physical clashes erupted during the afternoon session.

Freshman legislator Chang (邱彰) quarrelled with her colleague Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) and others when Chiu Yi-ying was trying to take a peek at her ballot.

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