The Legislative Yuan’s Internal Administration Committee is today scheduled to review amendments to the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法) proposed by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chi Kuo-tung (紀國棟).
One of the amendments proposes that when a seat reserved for a woman is not filled as the result of an election, the seat should go to the female candidate with the next-highest number of votes.
However, the amendment has been criticized as favoring particular individuals.
If the amendment passes, the Greater Taichung City Council seat left vacant by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Ho Ho Hsin-chun (何欣純), who was elected to the legislature in January, would be filled by KMT member Lin Pi-hsiu (林碧秀), who lost the city councilor election in 2010 to People First Party candidate Tuan Wei-yu (段緯宇) by 15 votes.
Ho said that although Chi and Lin are not close acquaintances, there have been rumors that Chi’s amendments were deliberately drafted to benefit certain individuals.
According to the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act, if local representatives are disqualified because of bribery, or if a candidate has been deprived of his/her civil rights and not regained them, any vacant seat should be taken by whoever received the next-highest number of votes, though an additional provision stipulates that the candidate in question must have received more than 50 percent of the votes of the previous candidate.
Chi’s amendment, which seeks to reinforce female participation in politics, says that in the event a seat reserved for women becomes vacant (current regulations state that one in every four candidates must be female), regardless of the reason for the vacancy, be it resignation, impeachment, death, or some other reason, it must be filled by the woman who received the next-highest number of votes in that constituency.
It also places no limit on the number of votes a candidate must have received and would also apply to the last election and thereby impact sitting local representatives.
DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) said he did not support the proposal that the amendment should be retrospective to the last election, saying that candidates were clear about their rights and obligations when they took part in elections
Making the amendment retrospective was the same as changing the rules after-the-fact, Lee said.
DPP Legislator Wu Yi-chen (吳宜臻) said that if the amendment was intended to maintain the number of elected female candidates irrespective of the number of votes, that would call the legitimacy of the new representatives into question.
In response, Chi said any system had its good and bad points and it was meaningless to only focus on the bad points.
Translated by Jake Chung, staff writer