Pan-blues retain majority
The KMT emerged the big winner in the legislative elections, gaining 11 seats more than 2001's poll, while the losses of its ally the PFP meant the pan-blues ended up with one less seat overall. The DPP gained two seats, well short of its pre-election hopes, and conceded last night
By Lindy Yeh / STAFF REPORTER
The pan-blue camp, consisting of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the People First Party (PFP) and the New Party, yesterday managed to retain a legislative majority, winning 114 seats in of the 225-seat legislature.
\nThe pan-greens won 101 seats, with 89 of the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) candidates winning seats, up from 87, while its ally the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) won 12, down from 13. The Non-Partisan Solidarity Union (NPSU, 無黨團結聯盟) won six seats and the independents accounted for four.
\nYesterday's voter turnout marked a historic low of just 59.16 percent of the nation's roughly 16 million voters eligible for this election, far lower than the Central Election Commission's (CEC) prediction of 67 percent one day earlier.
\nAmong the four major parties, the KMT enjoyed the biggest leap in seats won, jumping from 68 seats in 2001's legislative poll to 79. The PFP suffered a decline, losing 12 of the 46 seats won in 2001. The New Party retained one seat.
\nThe DPP remains the biggest party in the legislature.
\n"The showing is a victory for the pan-blues as well as for the Republic of China (ROC). The result shows that the people are longing for the nation's welfare. They wish for stability, development and reform. Of paramount importance, it shows the people's wishes are with us, the whole pan-blue alliance," KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) said yesterday after all votes were counted.
\nLien vowed to stick to the party's commitment to issues regarding national identity, cross-strait relations, social harmony, the nation's development and to push for passage of critical draft bills in the legislature.
\n"The election results suggest that the people are expecting to see a capable and efficient governing team. We will make an all-out effort to assist the governing authorities, encourage more negotiation and dialogue and work together with the governing team," Lien said.
\nLien did not elaborate on whether the pan-blues will attempt to form the Cabinet as he had pledged to do before the election.
\nAccording to KMT Secretary-General Lin Fong-cheng (林豐正), the pan-blue alliance, boosted by two other KMT candidates who had won election but had run in the poll without the party's consent, the pan-blues will in fact control 116 seats in next legislature.
\nOver at the pan-green camp, DPP Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) and deputy secretary-generals Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) and Chung Chia-pin (鍾佳濱) yesterday offered to resign to take responsibility for the party's failure to win a legislative majority.
\nChang, who was fourth on the party's legislator-at-large list, also offered to relinquish his legislative seat. As of press time, DPP chairman President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) had not approved their resignations.
\nChen, in a gesture to distinguish himself from Lien -- who hasn't yet conceded his defeat in March's presidential election -- expressed complete acceptance of the result in a concession speech last night.
\n"The DPP completely accepts the election result. We express congratulations to the elected candidates and our condolences to the defeated ones," Chen said.
\nChen expressed thanks to the leaders of the four major parties for their efforts to support a smooth and peaceful election.
\n"Although the DPP has gained one more seat compared with the previous election, and the party's showing in this election also increased from last time's 33.38 percent to 35.72 percent, we will still conduct an overhaul of the party," Chen said.
\nThe CEC's statistics show the DPP's share of the vote at 37.98 percent.
\nChen also expressed thanks to TSU Chairman Huang Chu-wen (黃主文) and former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), the TSU's spiritual leader, for their assistance in the election.
\n"Though there was competition between the DPP and the TSU during the election, there was also cooperation. We will work more closely with the TSU after the election," Chen said.
\nCabinet Spokesman Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) yesterday said Premier Yu Shyi-kun, as the DPP's campaign manager, will take responsibility for the party's failure to win a legislative majority. But Chen Chi-mai did not elaborate as to whether Yu would offer to resign as premier.
\nPFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), facing the party's significant loss of seats, yesterday expressed gratitude for the people's support in helping the party grab 34 seats and asserted the ROC's existence.
\n"Though the PFP's showing is not satisfactory, at least its position as the third largest party is unchanged," Soong said.
\nHuang Chu-wen, whose son David Huang (黃適卓) was elected under the TSU banner, yesterday said the TSU respected the voters' choice but hoped the pan-blue camp would forget its campaign threat to form a Cabinet if the alliance won a legislative majority.
\n"Facing our loss of one seat, the TSU will conduct a thorough review of the party. But we believe our insistence on creating a new constitution and the rectification movement is right," Huang said.
\nEarly yesterday morning, Chen cast his vote with first lady Wu Shu-chen (吳淑珍) in Taipei, accompanied by Minister of the Interior Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) and Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
\nChen first cheered the sunny day and said "the dream will be soon realized since the sunshine has cleared the sky."
\n"Today is a historic day and I believe the people of Taiwan will rewrite history by casting their votes. I also believe that Taiwan's people will give Taiwan, love, unity and peace a chance," Chen said.
\nChen also showed respect and confidence in election officials' efforts to maintain a transparent and fair poll.
\n"I believe all election officials will carry out their duty fairly today, and I hope the losers of today's election will not accuse the staff of cheating," Chen said.
\nFormer president Lee Teng-hui cast his vote in Tahsi, Taoyuan County, appearing at the poll without his wife Tseng Wen-hui (曾文惠).
\nWhen asked if Tseng would show up and vote later, Lee said Tseng probably would not, because she was not feeling well.
\nLee did not make any comment on the elections yesterday morning.
\nLien urged voters to head to the polls while casting his vote in Taipei yesterday morning.
\n"People must go to the polls and vote for the future as well as for the nation and their offspring," Lien said.
\nSoong yesterday morning voted in Linkou, where his household is registered. He urged voters to think rationally over whether to vote for love or hatred.
\n"Voters should chose their candidates rationally and resolve hatred through love and tolerance," Soong said.
Premier Yu Shyi-kun, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung and DPP chairman and President Chen Shui-bian, left to right, bow to apologize for the pan-green camp's failure at the DPP's headquarters in Taipei yesterday.
PHOTO: CHANG CHIA-MING, TAIPEI TIMES
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan, left, smiles during a press conference at party headquarters in Taipei last night after the pan-blue alliance retained its majority of seats in the legislature. Lien is flanked by Wang Chin-ping, third right, Chiang Pin-kun, second right, and Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou, right.
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