While president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said she would respect the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus’ choice of legislative speaker for the incoming legislature, it has been widely predicted that DPP legislator-elect Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) is likely to be named to the role.
Tsai yesterday reaffirmed her stance on speaker selection as she attended a DPP caucus meeting at the Legislative Yuan, which media described as her supervising selection, but Tsai said her attendance at the first meeting of a new caucus was routine.
She urged caucus members to live up to the public’s expectations and spend time reviewing bills and focusing on transparency, reform, unity and public participation.
“Whether the reshuffled Cabinet, led by incoming premier Simon Chang (張善政), is of a caretaker nature or not, it should perform its duties and the DPP caucus should participate in its supervisory role while respecting the newly appointed Cabinet to help stabilize the political situation,” Tsai said.
The three speculated to be in the running for the speaker position, including Su, and legislators Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) and Chen Ming-wen (陳明文), expressed deference to Tsai’s opinions and the caucus, while Ker said that the selection of three caucus leaders is also a concern, which could affect the balance between the administrative and legislative branches.
“The stability of the Tsai administration depends on the legislature, so ending bipartisan fighting between the DPP and the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] would be pivotal in smoothing the DPP’s rule,” Ker said.
Su is the most favored candidate, as the legislative speaker has to remain neutral and will not attend party events, while Su has more support among the 18 elected legislators-at-large than Ker, Su’s strongest competitor.
Su has been in close cooperation with Tsai, and served both as her running mate in the 2012 presidential election and campaign executive director in this year’s election.
Ker is a senior lawmaker who took his seat in 1993 and the current DPP caucus whip, and is experienced in conducting cross-party negotiations.
“Ker and Chen would be in their element if they assume leadership in the caucus, while they would be hamstrung by the neutrality of speakership,” the party source said.
The DPP caucus said a straw poll would be conducted tomorrow if the speaker and deputy speaker selection could not be decided by negotiation.
Meanwhile, while DPP Legislator Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) is believed to have been appointed as the caucus’ deputy speaker, the party is considering making way for younger politicians.
Tsai Chi-chang said Tsai Ing-wen should evaluate the candidates by their ability to carry out legislative reform and their public reception, while the DPP caucus voluntarily prioritized her opinion, as the DPP could not afford failure after it returned to power.
He said clearer messages would surface in these few days, and there is little chance the selection of speakership and caucus leadership would go to vote.
“The paring of Su and Tsai Chi-chang has a staunch support base and is believed to cause less friction in the new legislature,” the party source said.
In addition, DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) is believed to be in line to run for Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu’s (陳菊) job after Chen Chu finishes her term in two years. Kuan has been silent whenever her name is mentioned in the speakership race, the party source said.