Sat, Feb 03, 2018 - Page 3 News List

CEC meets mixed reaction to seat readjustments

UNFAIR:DPP Legislator Su Cheng-ching said the commission should not only consider population, but also geography, culture and ease of travel when adjusting legislative seats

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

The Central Election Commission’s (CEC) suggestion that the number of legislative seats in Hsinchu, Tainan, Kaohsiung and Pingtung counties be adjusted for the next legislative election in proportion to changes in the populations of the four administrative areas drew mixed reactions yesterday from legislators and local officials.

The commission on Thursday passed a resolution to increase the number of legislative seats for Hsinchu and Tainan by one, and to reduce seats for Kaohsiung and Pingtung by one.

The resolution was based on the minimum requirement of one legislative seat for each administrative region coupled with the largest remainder method, which was the method used in the 2008 legislative election.

Under the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法), the allocation of legislative seats should undergo review every 10 years, with the population recorded in an administrative region 26 months ahead of a legislative election serving as the basis for calculations.

The commission should tender suggestions on the allocation of seats to the legislature for review 20 months ahead of a legislative election, and if the proposal fails to pass, the premier and the legislative speaker should then conduct negotiations on the allocation of seats, the act stipulates.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Cheng-ching (蘇震清), who is from Pingtung County, protested the proposal, saying it would cause the county’s development to lag behind other cities and counties.

“Pingtung is a poor and vast place. The three lawmakers under the current system have to travel great distances to provide services to their constituents, let alone two,” Su said.

The proposal would assign unequal weighting to votes cast in different areas, he said, citing the one legislative seat allocated for each outlying municipality, which he said allows candidates to be elected with far fewer votes compared with candidates campaigning in Pingtung County.

The proposal is unfair in that the populations of Nantou and Chiayi counties are about 200,000 smaller than that of Pingtung County, but the two central counties would also be assigned two legislative seats, Su said.

The commission should not just focus on population, but should also take into account the geography, culture and transportation facilities in an administrative region when making proposals, he said.

The commission should think twice about its proposal, said DPP Legislator Hsu Chih-chieh (許智傑), who is from Kaohsiung, adding that there is a gap in the development of large cities and rural areas.

Population is a sound premise for the allocation of legislative seats, as evidenced by the 2008 legislative election, said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus secretary-general Lee Yen-hsiu (李彥秀), calling on all parties concerned not to approach the issue with political calculations.

The shrinking population in Kaohsiung, a DPP stronghold, indicates that the party’s policies on upgrading industries and improving education have failed to motivate residents to stay in the municipality, she said.

Hsinchu Commissioner Chiu Ching-chun (邱鏡淳) welcomed the proposal, saying the Hsinchu Science Park is the staple of the nation’s global competitiveness and many of the county’s needs and issues would be better addressed if it had more legislators.

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