Mon, Jan 20, 2020 - Page 3 News List

2020 Elections: Rules for axing TPP legislators set bar low, Ko says

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), chairman of the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), on Saturday said that the party’s rules for removing legislators-at-large only meet the lowest standards.

Ko made the remark in Helsinki in response to a Taiwanese reporter’s questions.

The TPP won five legislator-at-large seats in the Jan. 11 elections, and is eligible to form a legislative caucus, which requires at least three legislators from the same party.

The TPP on Saturday invited legislative watchdog Citizen’s Congress Watch (CCW) to educate the party’s five new legislators.

TPP Secretary-General Chang Jer-yang (張哲揚) said that the party’s legislators-at-large would be removed if they are listed on the CCW’s “watch” list for two consecutive legislative sessions, breach the TPP caucus’ decision on important personnel appointments once or breach the caucus’ decision on important bills three times.

“The rules are for regulating our legislators,” he said.

We hope the rules protect their original reasons for entering politics from being contaminated, and prevent them from holding values contrary to the party’s, Chang said.

When asked to comment on the rules, Ko said “there should be an accreditation system for our lawmakers ... and the three rules mentioned are of the lowest standards.”

The TPP should establish its own evaluation standards, but for now it would use the CCW’s, he said.

Legislators could easily get a good score if they are not absent from committee meetings and question-and-answer sessions, and if they propose bills, so the party might institute higher standards, Ko added.

The TPP, which was established by Ko in August last year, emerged as the country’s third-largest party after Saturday’s legislative elections.

Ko had toyed with running for president as an independent, but decided instead to form a political party that gave voters an alternative to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-led pan-green camp and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-led pan-blue camp.

Although none of the candidates the TPP nominated in electoral districts won seats, it received nearly 1.6 million votes, or 11.2 percent of the political party vote used to allocate at-large seats.

The DPP retained an absolute majority in the Legislative Yuan with 61 seats, while the main opposition KMT won 38.

Ko has said that the results met the TPP’s expectations and stressed that his party would work with the pan-blue and pan-green camps on the national agenda.

“In the past, Taiwan has not made any progress under the rule of either blue or green powers, and the TPP will become a new choice beyond the two parties,” Ko said.

Ko said he expected the party to become a “role model” in the legislature by examining policies based on their merits rather than focusing on politics.

The other mission for TPP lawmakers, he said, would be to learn how the central government works, which would lay the foundations for it to become the ruling party.

Two other small parties have a presence in the legislature.

The New Power Party maintained its caucus with 1.1 million votes, or 7.8 percent of the political party vote, giving it three at-large seats.

It won five seats in 2016, but internal party strife resulted in some of its incumbent legislators running as independents in district races.

The pro-Taiwanese independence Taiwan Statebuilding Party won 3.2 percent of the political party vote, but fell short of the 5 percent threshold needed to win seats, although Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟), its candidate in Taichung’s second electoral district, won one seat.

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