Sat, Nov 20, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Clear majority in legislative elections seen as unlikely


An American academic said on Thursday that next month's legislative elections are not expected to give an absolute majority to any political camp, which she said will help avert a crisis resulting from possible major changes to the Constitution.

Shelley Rigger, associate professor of political science at Davidson College, made the remarks during a seminar on the elections, which was presided over by Richard Bush, former American Institute in Taiwan chairman and currently a director of the Brookings Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies in Washington.

Rigger speculated that the results of the elections will not lead to major changes in terms of the number of seats held by each party and that the structure of the legislature will basically remain intact.

Rigger said President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) hope of translating his re-election into a major victory next month may not work.

She said that most of the candidates are incumbents seeking re-election. The current multiple-seat election system, which often sees several candidates from a political party vying for seats from their comrades of the same party in the constituency, also means that personal attributes of individual candidates take precedence over their party affiliation.

For this reason, she predicted, even if the Democratic Progressive Party and the Taiwan Solidarity Union can garner more seats, the changes will not be too big and the main structure of the legislature will not undergo dramatic change.

Rigger said that even if the pan-green camp garners between 105 and 109 seats, as it has estimated, it would still be a relative majority and not an absolute majority.

She said the pan-green camp would still be short of the number of seats needed to make major changes to the Constitution.

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