The days when the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) had complete control over the agenda at the legislature could be over, with the four legislative caucuses predicting that the KMT would at best capture only half of the convener seats during the March 5 elections for legislative standing committee conveners.
The People First Party (PFP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucuses, along with three legislators from non-caucus minority parties, will vote for committee placements tomorrow, with the remaining seats to be decided in two rounds of votes by the KMT and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Thursday.
The first round will be based on the parties’ legislative seat ratios, giving the KMT 55 seats and the DPP 33 seats; the nine and eight seats left to the KMT and the DPP respectively would be resolved in the second round of voting.
Regulations state that legislative standing committees must have a minimum of 13 members or a maximum of 15; each committee must have two conveners to be elected by committee members.
Based on the caucuses’ projections, the KMT should be able to retain its hold on both convener seats in the more unpopular committees, such as the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee, but the second convener seats in the other committees would almost certainly fall to the opposition parties.
Speaking yesterday, TSU convener Hsu Chun-hsin (許忠信) said that for seat allocations and the election of conveners, the TSU and the DPP would work together as that would be beneficial to both parties.
If the TSU failed to win the places it wanted, it would negotiate with the DPP on the possibility of trading committee seats, he said.
As for the election of conveners, Hsu said: “We have no bargaining chip [to ask for a trade],” adding that he hoped the DPP might give a convener seat to the TSU even if the TSU did not ask for it.
PFP convener Thomas Lee also said that the party was not ruling out working with the DPP caucus, adding that he expected the party would have to work with the DPP in one or two committees.
However, the prerequisite for working together would be based on the premise that the DPP would be short of votes for the convener elections, which Lee said would give the PFP the opportunity to ask for a reciprocal move.
On the side of the DPP, with an average of five legislators in each committee, it would not have to resort to voting again, as what happened in the last legislative term when it tied with the KMT for the vote for convener seats.
Even in some committees where the DPP have less than five legislators, it has the option of working with the TSU or the PFP, which presents the possibility of the KMT and the DPP each holding a convener seat.
According to DPP convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), the party’s goal would be to get the most convener seats, that is, “one convener per committee.”
“We have not ruled out working with the TSU and the PFP,” Ker said.
Since the DPP is already “filled to the rafters” in the Economics Committee and the Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee, it was not likely the DPP would need to trade with the TSU for seats on those two committees.
However, there might be room for negotiation in other committees, Ker said.
Lin Hong-chi (林鴻池), chief executive of the KMT Central Policy Committee, said the KMT does not plan to work with the Non--Partisan Solidarity Union (NPSU) or the PFP, adding that the KMT also did not have any room to “give” any seats to anyone.