Mon, Nov 25, 2019 - Page 3 News List

2020 Elections Focus: Three small parties likely to pass at-large threshold

Staff writer, with CNA

From left to right, Taoyuan City Councilor Wang Hao-yu, Green Party Taiwan founding convener Kao Cheng-yan, psychologist Teng Hui-wen and Hsinchu City Councilor Liu Chong-hsien appear at the Green Party’s news conference in Taipei on Nov. 14 to announce its legislator-at-large list.

Photo courtesy of the Green Party

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) are fighting to keep their share of the legislator-at-large seats in the Jan. 11 elections, as three smaller parties are likely reach the 5 percent vote threshold required to obtain such seats, a political analyst who asked not to be named said.

The People First Party (PFP), New Power Party (NPP) and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), which have released their nominee lists, are believed to have sufficient popular support to gain at least 5 percent of the vote, the analyst said.

Under the “single-member constituency, two-vote” system, each eligible voter casts two ballots in the legislative elections — one for a district candidate and the other for a party. At-large seats are apportioned based on the vote count in the party ballots, but a party must gain at least 5 percent of the ballots to be eligible.

The DPP and KMT are forecast to win enough votes to secure 12 to 14 at-large seats, the analyst said.

The TPP, formed by Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) in August, and the NPP are likely to take a total of six to eight seats between them, the analyst said.

The PFP stands a good chance of passing the 5 percent threshold after PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) entered the presidential race, the analyst added.

KMT supporters displeased with the party’s at-large nominees are likely to cast their party votes for the PFP or TPP, the analyst said.

The KMT has been heavily criticized for nominating several controversial figures for at-large seats, including retired lieutenant general Wu Sz-huai (吳斯懷), a military pension reform activist who was panned for attending a 2016 Beijing event celebrating the 150th anniversary of Sun Yat-sen’s (孫逸仙) birth at which Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) gave a speech, and standing for the Chinese national anthem.

Amid the controversy over the KMT’s at-large list, its support in public opinion polls has dropped 4 percent over the past few days, the analyst said.

KMT Deputy Secretary-General Tu Chien-teh (杜建德) has said the party is confident it can obtain 16 to 18 at-large seats.

According to a party source, the KMT is working with ideologically similar parties on the possibility of building a coalition to gain a legislative majority.

Meanwhile, PFP organization department head Chang Shuo-wen (張碩文) said his party hopes to retain its three at-large seats and win some more.

The TPP is polling at 10 to 12 percent, which would translate into four at-large seats if those numbers hold true in the elections, a party source said.

The TPP could pick up more swing voters as the campaign progresses and when pro-blue camp or other pro-green camp candidates make missteps, the source said.

However, the TPP’s poll numbers have been affected by Soong’s candidacy and the PFP’s nomination of two top aides to Hon Hai Group founder Terry Gou (郭台銘) for at-large seats, the source said.

Nonetheless, increased support for the PFP is likely to affect the KMT more than the TPP, since most PFP supporters are considered pan-blue voters, the source said.

Gou lost to Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kou-yu (韓國瑜) in the KMT’s presidential primary in July.

For a while, Gou was said to be mulling an independent run for president, but he decided instead to work with the TPP in the legislative elections.

In the 113-seat Legislative Yuan, 73 seats are directly elected in winner-take-all constituencies, six are reserved for Aboriginal candidates elected by indigenous voters, and 34 are at-large seats allocated based on the proportion of the party vote.

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