The voters were the winners in the presidential and legislative elections. Jan. 13 was the first time since direct presidential elections began in Taiwan in 1996 that a party has won the presidency in more than two consecutive elections.
Unlike former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would be able to pass the baton to a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) successor. This is an acknowledgement of Tsai’s work, which further affirms her place in Taiwanese history.
However, the DPP did not win a majority in the Legislative Yuan. For one thing, some policies — such as “one fixed day off and one flexible rest day” for the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) — need to be improved. For another, election strategies should have been better.
Former DPP legislator Liu Chao-hao (劉櫂豪) ran as an independent after losing the DPP primary to Lai Kun-cheng (賴坤成). This led to the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) victory in Taitung County.
Meanwhile, splits within local constituencies resulted in DPP legislator Kao Chia-yu’s (高嘉瑜) defeat.
Losing these two seats was critical. Consequently, the DPP is at a disadvantage in the legislature.
It is unnecessary to look back or blame certain people. The issue now is mathematical. The DPP has to either negotiate with the critical minority in the legislature or appropriate some people from the KMT. The former would require a great amount of work.
With limited time and amid internal splits after the elections, the DPP was unable to win over the critical minority to re-elect its speaker. Similarly, its efforts to recruit KMT legislators were also in vain. In the end, the Legislative Yuan fell under the KMT’s control.
When DPP Legislator You Si-kun (游錫?) was speaker, he maintained political neutrality. He did not exclusively favor the DPP. His unbiased approach, as well as his familiarity with legislative procedures and democratic order, allowed the Legislative Yuan to operate smoothly. You indeed offered great assistance to the Tsai administration.
Now, KMT Legislator-at-large Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) is the speaker. Even if he refrains from interfering in the legislature, he might create quite a few problems due to his lack of knowledge about procedures.
This would be the greatest challenge not only for president-elect William Lai (賴清德), but also Tsai. How later generations view her depends on the transition of power. Lai must continue the reforms started by Tsai’s administration to ensure that Taiwan can play an important role in the international democratic community.
He should seek to make Taiwan a prosperous and sustainable country with a strong military that shines in the world. This requires the ruling party to work with non-governmental organizations based on consensus, so that Lai can secure his leadership and guide Taiwan in a stable way.
Although the KMT won the legislative speakership, the DPP should keep working to secure a majority through partnerships. When it comes to reviewing budgets and bills, it would need help to facilitate its agenda. It also needs to prevent Han from interfering in the legislature.
The DPP must not make the same mistakes again. It must avoid interparty turmoil. Internal factions must work together for the greater good. Only in this way can Lai carry out his agenda without a hitch. This is not only for the sake of democratic values, but also for the benefit of all parties and people in Taiwan.
Tommy Lin is president of the Formosa Republican Association.
Translated by Emma Liu
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