Thu, Jul 28, 2011 - Page 3 News List

CEC should do more to publicize electoral system: TSU

By Chris Wang  /  Staff Reporter

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Chairman Huang Kun-huei speaks during a press conference yesterday in Taipei, pledging to support Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s presidential bid and calling on the DPP to be more supportive of the TSU in return.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

The Central Election Commission (CEC) should step up its effort to promote the “single-member district, two-vote” electoral system even though the system puts smaller parties such as the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) at a disadvantage, TSU Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) said yesterday .

Even though the system was implemented four years ago, nearly half the respondents in a recent poll conducted by the TSU said they were not aware of a “second ballot” that determines the legislator-at-large seats, Huang said.

Slightly more than 46 percent of respondents said they did not know about the second ballot, while 62.1 percent knew the voting system was designed to determine the legislator-at-large seats, while 37.9 percent mistakenly thought it was for single-member district elections.

About 24 percent did not know next year’s presidential election and legislative elections would be held on Jan. 14.

The survey was conducted from July 19 to Sunday and had a margin of error of 3 percent.

Huang said the commission had “fallen asleep” and been “negligent” in promoting the new system, which he said works against smaller parties, particularly in single-member district elections.

“That is why the second ballot is important to smaller parties to make sure alternative voices can be heard,” Huang told a press conference.

The commission will not launch its promotion program for the January elections until Sept. 15, when the official election announcement is made, Central Election Commission Secretary-General Teng Tien-yu (鄧天祐) said, adding that it would use TV commercials as well as radio and print advertisements.

The second-ballot voting system, in which voters pick the party of their choice, is used to determine 34 legislator-at-large seats. The other 73 seats are elected from single-member districts.

Only the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) were able to secure legislator-at-large seats in the 2008 elections because only parties who garner 5 percent of the vote are eligible for a seat.

The TSU obtained 3.53 percent of the vote in 2008. Between 2001 and 2007, the party held more than 10 seats in the legislature and only five of the 906 local councilors are TSU members.

Although the TSU has pledged to support DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) presidential bid and will not nominate candidates in the single-member district elections, it will try to win at least two legislator-at-large seats to avoid being marginalized.

The TSU needs help from the DPP to do so, Huang said, calling on Tsai to “at least express goodwill, recognize the TSU’s important role as a strong ally of the DPP and help the TSU to surpass the 5 percent threshold.”

The TSU could have been another People First Party (PFP), he said, referring to the KMT ally that decided to nominate its own district candidates and legislator-at-large hopefuls, a move seen as a potential threat to the KMT.

“The DPP needs the TSU more than we need it. However, we have made clear that [the TSU] will not be a spoiler in the elections, so it’s time for the DPP to demonstrate goodwill,” Huang said, without elaborating on what the DPP could do.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top