The Taiwan Citizen Union (TCU) and academics yesterday called for the Constitution to be amended to give smaller political parties a more open channel to voice their opinions in the legislature and for the voting age to be lowered to 18 to increase young people’s engagement in political issues.
TCU president Fan Yun (范雲) told a news conference in Taipei that the key to regenerating the nation’s political system is to lower the threshold for parties to name legislators-at-large from 5 percent of total party votes, as stipulated in the Constitution, to at least 2 percent, so that larger political parties cannot monopolize the 34 legislator-at-large seats.
Citing the Green Party as an example, she said that the nation’s 5th largest party obtained nearly 230,000 votes, about 1.8 percent the total number of party votes, but was denied a legislator-at-large seat.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
In addition, the party did not receive any subsidies from the Central Election Commission because it did not reach the 5 percent threshold, Fan said.
She said the electoral system needs to be changed from the existing mixed-member majoritarian system to the mixed-member representation system used by Germany — a system said to produce a more faithful representation of votes, making it more favorable to smaller parties.
The proposed system differs in that it allocates legislators-at-large seats by deducting the total number of seats won by a party through direct vote from the overall ratio of votes it obtains, rather than allocating the seats directly by party-vote ratios.
Fan said this reform could be achieved by amending the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法) alone and does not require a constitutional amendment.
While she approved of New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu’s (朱立倫) suggestion to amend the Constitution to change the semi-presidential political system into a parliamentary one to achieve clearer distribution of administrative power, she said the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) might be using the issue to put on a political drama aimed at salvaging its languishing approval rates.
She called on Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Chu, who is seeking the KMT chairmanship, to push for constitutional reform and urged them not to block efforts to amend the act.
“The DPP and KMT should lay out a clear timetable for constitutional reform and not take advantage of the issue to boost their image or further their political aims,” she said.
National Chengchi University political science professor Chen Shang-chih (陳尚志) called on legislators to complete the roadmap for constitutional reform six months before the 2016 presidential and legislative elections to allow time for a plebiscite on the issue to be held in tandem with the polls.
He also said that the legal voting age should be lowered from 20 to 18 to allow more young people to participate in the referendum.
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
CONTROVERSY: NHIA Director-General Lee Po-chang said an outcry over overseas Taiwanese not paying premiums, but having coverage, is pushing rule amendments Rules changes are being considered that would force Taiwanese who permanently live abroad to pay National Health Insurance (NHI) premiums for the period they were overseas before they can re-enroll in the system, National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA) Director-General Lee Po-chang (李伯璋) yesterday said. The case of a married Taiwanese couple who lived in the US for about 30 years, but returned to Taiwan in April and tested positive for COVID-19 has again sparked public debate over why Taiwanese living abroad are allowed to use NHI resources, — although the couple’s expenses were not covered by the NHI. An often cited example
AN EXAMPLE: After attending a memorial service for Lee Teng-hui, Mori said the former president’s career reflected the importance of peace and democracy Using military force to resolve conflict is no longer workable in this new era, which requires peaceful discussion, former Japanese prime minister Yoshiro Mori said yesterday before leaving Taipei. Mori made the remarks at a news conference in front of the EVA Sky Jet Center at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport), after leading a delegation to attend the official memorial service for former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) in New Taipei City’s Tamsui District (淡水). This was Mori’s second trip to mourn Lee; his last was on Aug. 9. Although he walked with a crutch, Mori, 83, chose to stand right in front of