The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) held on to its three seats while the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) kept its two in yesterday’s legislative by-elections in five electoral districts — Taichung, as well as Changhua, Nantou, Miaoli and Pingtung counties.
The vacancies were created after five legislators, three from the DPP and two from the KMT, were elected as city mayors or county commissioners in the nine-in-one elections on Nov. 29 last year, in which the KMT suffered an unprecedented defeat and secured just six seats out of 22, a drop from 15.
The by-elections caused no changes to the current legislature’s composition.
In Pingtung, DPP candidate Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄), with 42,988 votes, won in a landslide against the KMT’s Liao Wan-ju (廖婉汝), who received 20,627 votes. The southern county’s election had the largest vote difference among the five regions contested.
The closest race was in Nantou, where KMT candidate Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華) won with 38,694 votes, edging past the DPP’s Tang Huo-sheng (湯火聖), who secured 34,938 votes.
The DPP’s legislative candidates for Taichung — Huang Kuo-shu (黃國書) — and Changhua — Chen Su-yueh (陳素月) — also won their electorates, after leading their main KMT competitors, former vice premier Hsiao Chia-chi (蕭家淇) and former Changhua County commissioner Cho Po-yuan (卓伯源) respectively, by more than 10,000 votes.
Huang received 45,143 votes to Hsiao’s 32,917, while Chen garnered 51,907 votes — 17,200 more than Cho’s 34,707.
In Miaoli, DPP Legislator-at-large Wu Yi-chen (吳宜臻), who had withdrawn from the contest to yield the opportunity to student activist Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷) before Chen dropped out due to a groping scandal, lost the election to the KMT’s Hsu Chih-rong (徐志榮), who topped Wu’s 32,966 votes with 47,105.
The newly elected legislators are to serve short terms, as the election for the ninth legislature is scheduled for early next year.
Whether that election is to be synchronized with next year’s presidential election, usually held in March, is still being debated.
The DPP last night thanked voters for their support in the by-elections, vowing to work harder in Miaoli and Nantou counties.
“These [results] show that voters still hold high expectations for further reforms, so the candidates must therefore remember the responsibilities that voters have placed upon them and stay loyal to the people,” DPP Secretary-General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) told a news conference.
DPP Campaign Strategy Committee convener Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) attributed the KMT’s victories in Miaoli and Nantou counties to the KMT’s strong local organizations.
Su said that the DPP’s securing of the other three seats gives the party more confidence for the future, as it demonstrated that voters trust the party.
KMT spokesperson Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) offered congratulations to the two KMT candidates who were elected yesterday, and extended her regards to the other three candidates who lost.
She said the KMT thanks the voters for their support as the party recovers from its greatest defeat ever in November last year and promises to continue its efforts with the utmost sincerity and innovation.