Fri, Feb 02, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Su and Wang call for acceptance of electoral plan

NEW BOUNDARIES The premier and legislative speaker asked lawmakers not to reject the redistribution plan despite the controversial manner in which it was settled

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

From left to right, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, Premier Su Tseng-chang and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming politely entreat one another while participating in the succession ceremony of the three leaders of the DPP caucus in the legislature yesterday.

PHOTO: LIU HSIN-DE, TAIPEI TIMES

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday called on lawmakers to accept the electoral redistribution plan even though many were disappointed with it.

The opposition-controlled legislature approved the Central Election Commission (CEC)-drafted redistricting designs for 15 cities and counties around the country before its winter session concluded on Jan. 19, leaving the redistribution of eight key cities and counties in dispute.

As the next legislative elections could result in major changes to the domestic political landscape, political parties were reluctant to surrender even the smallest advantage, making compromise difficult.

The whole electoral redistribution plan for December's legislative election was finalized on Wednesday, with the dispute over the demarcation of 43 constituencies in the eight counties and cities out of a total of 73 constituencies being resolved through the drawing of lots.

"It's such an important issue. How could it be decided by the drawing of lots?" People First Party (PFP) Spokesman Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator John Chiang (蔣孝嚴) said he believed that the pan-blue camp would be able to secure more than two-thirds of the seats in accordance with the final redistribution.

In preparation for the "single-member district" system that will be adopted for the election, the KMT and PFP have formed an alliance aimed at coordinating the two parties' candidates for each district.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chin-jun (陳景峻) said the DPP should also step up the pace of its negotiations with the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) over combined nominations.

"We [the DPP] have to cooperate with the TSU. It's unclear whether a joint effort [between the DPP and TSU] will be enough to beat the pan-blue camp, let alone a divided effort," Chen said.

According to the result of the drawing of lots, an opposition version for the electoral redistribution of Pingtung County, where three regional lawmakers stand to be elected, won over the the CEC version favored by the DPP.

Analysis suggests that the DPP may lose all three seats in Pingtung County as a result of the drawing, and a story in Wednesday's Liberty Times, (the Taipei Times' sister paper), quoted Su as saying that he was sorry about the Pingtung County result.

Su yesterday said that although the rezoning would be a factor in who wins in the election, the most important factor was a candidate's ability.

Su made the remarks when approached by reporters for comment on the issue.

To redefine and decide the new constituencies for the legislative election is a very difficult issue because it concerns the interests of political parties and candidates who are gearing up for the year-end legislative election, he said.

"Legislative Speaker Wang and I spent a lot of time together sorting out different issues before coming up with a decision," Su said. "It is the result of careful consideration."

He added that both he and Wang have suffered "tremendous political pressure" while they were mapping out the deal.

"The result is not satisfactory but I am quite sure it is acceptable," he added.

Additional reporting by CNA

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