Thu, Dec 04, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Taipei councilors keeping mum on speaker election

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Independent and small party Taipei city councilors were coy yesterday about whom they will support for speaker when they vote later this month.

They will hold the balance in the city council next term following the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) rout in the nine-in-one elections on Saturday. The KMT won only 28 seats in the new council — just one more than the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP). Thirty-two seats are needed for a majority.

The People First Party (PFP) and the New Party hold two seats each, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) has one and independents have three.

With the “deep blue” New Party councilors widely expected to back the KMT’s candidate for speaker, the DPP will have to appeal to the small parties and independents to get the five votes needed for a majority. The PFP is a perceived as more moderately “pan-blue,” while the TSU is “pan-green.”

Councilors contacted yesterday were hesitant to say whom they would support. PFP Councilor Lin Kuo-cheng (林國成) and independent Councilor Lin Ruey-tou (林瑞圖) said they would see first whom the DPP and the KMT would nominate before making a decision, while TSU Councilor Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘) brushed off claims that he would surely vote for the DPP.

While stating his support for Taipei City Council Speaker Wu Bi-chu (吳碧珠) of the KMT, New Party Councilor Pan Huai-tsung (潘懷宗) voiced his excitement over the influence that small parties would wield as the “critical minority.”

“Because neither party has a majority, they will have to ask for our help [to pass bills],” he said. “They will have to put more effort into persuading us to give our support.”

Other independent and small party councilors could not be reached for comment.

The ballot for speaker will be anonymous adding an additional variable to the race for speaker. Because city council committee appointments are determined by drawing lots, committee appointments and chairmanships cannot be awarded in exchange for support.

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