Sun, May 15, 2005 - Page 1 News List

DPP wins surprise victory in election

CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM The ruling party appeared not to have suffered from Lien and Soong's visits to China, although voter turnout declined to a historic low

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Despite the rainy weather, voters yesterday register to cast their ballots at a polling station to select the National Assembly representatives.

PHOTO: CHIEN JUNG-FENG, TAIPEI TIMES

Despite pouring rain and a record low turnout rate, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) managed a surprise victory against the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in yesterday's National Assembly elections, earning 42.52 percent of the vote, compared to the KMT's 38.92 percent.

In addition, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) beat the People First Party (PFP) and became the third largest party for the first time in yesterday's election, gaining a support rate of 7.05 percent compared to the PFP's 6.11 percent.

The DPP and TSU's unexpectedly strong showings put paid to the claims of many analysts that the KMT and PFP would get a boost from the "China fever" created by KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and PFP Chairman James Soong's (宋楚瑜) recent visits to China.

More importantly, however, the DPP and the KMT enjoyed a landslide victory for their governmental reform efforts in yesterday's National Assembly elections, garnering more than 80 percent of the total ballots.

As the two parties support the constitutional amendment package passed by the Legislative Yuan last August, yesterday's polls virtually guarantee the success of the constitutional amendment package, the fifth since the first constitutional amendment was completed 14 years ago in 1991.

The 300 Assembly members, which are allotted among the 12 political parties and civic leagues taking part in the election in proportion to the number of votes gained, are required to meet 10 days after the official election result is promulgated by the Central Election Commission (CEC).

According to the tallies released by the CEC, the turnout rate was recorded at about 23.35 percent, an embarrassing drop from the 76.21 percent of the last National Assembly polls in 1996 and the 59.16 percent of last year's legislative elections.

The civic alliance led by Chang Ya-chung (張亞中), a political professor, won 1.68 percent of the votes, followed by the Chinese People's Party's (CPP) 1.08 percent, the New Party's (NP) 0.88 percent, the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union's (NPSU) 0.65 percent and the Farmers' Party's (FP) 0.4 percent. Except for the CPP and FP, the rest of the above parties are against the constitutional amendments.

In terms of seats, the DPP is allocated with 127 seats, the KMT 117, the TSU 21 and the PFP 18. Chang's alliance receives five seats, the CPP three, the NP three, the NPSU two and the FP one.

The major task of the National Assembly is to ratify the constitutional amendment package passed by the legislature last August.

The bill includes amendments to Articles 1, 2, 4, 5 and 8 of the Additional Articles to the Constitution, on top of one article added to the Constitution in order to abolish the National Assembly, reform the legislature and regulate the methods for impeaching the president and vice president.

The amendment bill includes a provision halving the number of legislative seats from 225 to 113, extending the tenure of legislators from three to four years, adopting a "single-member district, two-vote" legislative electoral system and eliminating the National Assembly.

After the Assembly is abolished, bills regarding constitutional amendments and territorial changes will have to be ratified by the public via referendum after being passed by the legislature.

The amendment package also stipulates that when the legislature wants to pass a resolution to impeach the president or vice president, the resolution needs a simple majority to be proposed, but requires the consent of two-thirds of the Legislative Yuan for approval.

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