Sun, Jan 13, 2008 - Page 1 News List

KMT wins two-thirds majority

Out of the uncertainty of a new electoral system came a stunning rout of the Democratic Progressive Party and the near elimination of small parties. Chen Shui-bian resigned as DPP chairman, and party supporters licked their wounds even in traditional strongholds

BY TAIPEI TIMES STAFF REPORTERS

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Po-hsiung, center, is joined by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, second left, former party chairman Lien Chan, third left, and the party's presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou, third right, and his running mate, Vincent Siew, second right, at a press conference yesterday.

PHOTO: CNA

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) scored a resounding victory over the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in yesterday's seventh legislative elections, winning 81 seats, including 61 district legislator seats, to secure a two-thirds majority that gives it extra legislative powers.

The DPP, despite winning 38.17 percent of the total vote, garnered just 13 district legislator seats.

The Non-Partisan Solidarity Union (NPSU) came in third, with three seats, the People First Party (PFP) claimed one of the six Aboriginal seats and an independent candidate secured victory in Kinmen County.

The other parties -- including the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) and the New Party -- faired poorly, with none of them reaching the 5 percent threshold required to win legislator-at-large seats.

As a result, the 34 legislator-at-large seats were split between the two main parties, with the KMT receiving 20 seats and the DPP 14.

The Central Election Commission (CEC) said overall turnout for the district legislative poll was 58.50 percent, or 10,050,619 voters.

Both referendums held in conjunction with yesterday's vote failed to attain the 50 percent turnout required for them to pass.

The DPP's plebiscite on recovering the KMT's stolen assets attracted 26.34 percent of voters, or 4,550,881 votes. It received a total of 3,891,179 affirmative votes.

The KMT-initiated referendum on empowering the legislature to investigate corruption involving high-level government officials had a 26.08 percent turnout, with 2,304,136 affirmative votes and 1,656,890 negative votes out of a total of 4,505,927 ballots cast.

In response to the results, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) stepped down as DPP chairman.

Chen, calling the election loss the "worst setback" in the history of the party, told a press conference: "I should and I am willing to shoulder all of the responsibility."

"I resign as chairman, effective immediately. I feel very sorry and I feel shamed by this election result," he said.

KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) told a press conference at party headquarters:"We offer our deepest appreciation for today's election result."

Wu, with other party leaders at his side, including presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), said: "We understand that you have put your faith in us, but our joy should last for only one night. Starting tomorrow, we will have more responsibilities to undertake."

"I promise we will not abuse the power of the majority but we will use it to stabilize society and unite people, and we will respect the minority in parliament," Wu said.

The KMT's two-thirds majority would allow the party to impeach the president in its own right. In addition, with support from four other legislators, the KMT would have a three-quarters majority and could put constitutional amendments to a referendum.

"It is clear that people are yearning for change after eight years of suffering," Ma said.

He said "a more difficult task" lies ahead -- securing the presidency.

The KMT swept all eight seats in Taipei City, a goal it had dubbed "Sending Eight Immortals Across the Ocean" (八仙過海).

It marked only the second time since 1983 that all of the party's candidates for Taipei City had been elected, the city's Election Commission said.

The DPP had hoped legislative candidates Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) and Wang Shih-Cheng (王世堅), in particular, could upset their KMT opponents.

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