Thu, Feb 01, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Su, Wang break electorate deadlock

CRISIS OVER Last-minute negotiations resulted in disputed boundaries for eight cities and counties being determined by chance, which seems to have satisfied all parties

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

A dispute between the pan-blue and pan-green camps over electoral redistribution for eight key counties and cities was resolved yesterday -- through the drawing of lots.

The compromise, which affects 43 out of 73 directly elected legislative seats, broke a deadlock that threatened to boil over into a constitutional crisis.

The secretaries-general of the legislature and the Executive Yuan conducted the drawing of lots, and the results generally smiled on the Central Election Commission's (CEC) draft.

Electoral boundaries within four disputed cities and counties (Taipei and Taichung cities and Miaoli and Changhua counties) will be structured according to the original draft, while two other draws favored amendments presented by the Taiwan Solidarity Union (Taipei County) and the Democratic Progressive Party (Taoyuan County).

Boundaries within two other counties -- Kaohsiung County and Pingtung County -- will be altered based on cross-party interests.

"We deliberated on the redistribution but couldn't reach a compromise. Drawing lots was an acceptable way to resolve the dispute," Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said after a four-hour meeting with Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday.

After their meeting, the legislature referred the compromise proposal to the CEC, which was required by law to promulgate the change by yesterday.

The next legislative elections, to be held in December, will mark a significant change in the nation's political landscape, with the number of seats reduced to 113 from 225.

The controversial "single-vote, multiple-member district" will be replaced by the "two-vote, single-member district" system, in which 73 electorates will be represented by one candidate each, with another 34 seats allotted to parties based on the proportion of votes received.

The other six seats are reserved for Aboriginal legislators, who formerly had eight reserved seats.

Wang said he and Su "shouldered tremendous pressure [from lawmakers]" during the negotiations such that "there was no room for us to make concessions."

Redistribution in Taipei and Kaohsiung cities and Taoyuan, Taipei and Changhua counties in particular has been subject to much controversy as they carry considerable weight in terms of the total number of seats. The five counties and cities are in the top seven of the total of 25 counties and cities in terms of numbers of legislators.

According to the commission, 12 legislators will be elected from Taipei County, while Taipei City will have eight, Taoyuan County six, Kaohsiung City five and Changhua County four.

Asked about the legality of drawing lots, Wang said: "It shouldn't be a problem. In the past, when two candidates were elected with the same number of votes, drawing lots was the way to decide who won the election."

"Someone made the suggestion [during negotiations], and we [Wang and Su] thought it was practicable," he said, without naming the person.

The law states that electoral redistribution must be negotiated between the legislative speaker and the premier if the legislature fails to agree to a plan.

KMT caucus whip Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆) told the Taipei Times that although the compromise plan was imperfect, the party would accept the result.

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