Sun, Dec 12, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Independents anticipate playing a crucial role in legislature

The pan-blue camp is delighted to have defended its majority, but on particular issues pro-localization KMT members may give independents room to bargain

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Non-Partisan Solidarity Union (NPSU) and independent lawmakers together won 10 seats in yesterday's legislative elections, and with the pan-blue camp holding a fragile majority of 13 seats out of a total of 225 in the legislature, most of these non-aligned lawmakers will side with the pan-blues in the coming three years based on their sentiments to date.

Given that the pan-blues' absolute majority of three seats may not remain immune to pan-green attack -- especially if high-profile government posts are given to pan-blue lawmakers -- the alignment of the NPSU and independents may be a key issue.

Of the 10 seats, the NPSU lawmakers-elect hold six, and the independent four.

All the NPSU's winners yesterday are incumbent lawmakers:

Yen Ching-piao (顏清標, Taichung County), Chen Chin-ting (陳進丁, Changhwa County), Lee Ho-shun (李和順, Tainan County), Tsai Hao (蔡豪, Pingtung County), Lin Ping-kun (林炳坤, Penghu) and May Chin (高金素梅, mountain area aboriginal).

NPSU chairwoman Chang Po-ya (張博雅) said after the results were published that although the NPSU only had six seats, the party was likely to play a pivotal role in the new legislature.

Chang said that the NPSU was prepared to see such a low number of seats, and that the election outcome was not a matter of success of failure, but was "fair."

"The pan-blues only have a fragile majority this time, and especially with their overseas lawmakers often absent from the legislature, the NPSU will still be a decisive minority," Chang said.

NPSU Secretary-General Chen Chieh-ju (陳傑儒) said that one reason for the few seats won was that the party had only been established for a short time and it had suffered from lack of publicity.

"So it ended up that NPSU candidates still depended mostly on their own local resources and personal networks," Chen said.

Meanwhile, the four independent lawmakers are Li Ao (李敖, Taipei City South), Chang Li-shan (張麗善, Yunlin County), Yang Tsung-jer (楊宗哲, Changhua County), and Tsao Er-tsung (曹爾忠, Kinmen).

But several newly-elected NPSU and independent lawmakers have held grudges against the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration, and this means the pan-green camp would likely not be very successful in soliciting their support.

Among the lawmakers with grudges against the DPP include Chang Li-shan, whose brother, Yunlin County Commissioner Chang Jung-wei (張榮味), was sentenced to 12 months in jail for bribery during the 1994 election for the Yunlin County Council speakership.

Chang Jung-wei's arrest the day before the election is thought to have boosted his sister's campaign.

May Chin was another winner who has been fighting against the DPP administration on several Aboriginal issues. Last July Chin led a huge crowd of Aboriginals marching on Ketagalan Boulevard to protest Vice President Annette Lu's (呂秀蓮) remark that Aborigines were not the first inhabitants of Taiwan.

Taipei Society Chairman Hung Yu-hung (洪裕宏) agreed that the NPSU and independent lawmakers might play an important role in the new legislature, though he was less than impressed with the performance of the incumbents who have been reelected.

"In the Taipei Society's evaluation, most NPSU lawmakers have performed lousily and have only advanced their own interests," Hung said.

"But now that the pan-green camp has not won a majority, it will need support from the NPSU, independent, and KMT pro-localization lawmakers when it wants to pass certain bills," Hung said.

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