Tainan could get a sixth legislative seat after the Central Election Commission completes its review and mapping of electoral districts.
According to the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法), legislative districts are to be reviewed and, if needed, redrawn, every 10 years.
Since the law allots one legislative seat per 300,000 residents in a county or special municipality, and Tainan has 1.9 million residents, the city should have six representatives, Tainan Bureau of Civil Affairs Director Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥) said.
The city has five lawmakers — all Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members.
“Assuming the process is above board and the commission follows the rules, Tainan will gain one more legislator,” Chen said.
Although the commission has to consult local governments that would be affected by the redrawing of electoral districts, the commission has the final say on what it will do, Chen said.
All five Tainan lawmakers welcomed the prospect of increased representation for the city.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Tainan chapter director Chuang Chan-kuei (莊占魁) also voiced support, saying that apportioning legislative seats is a national issue, but he supports a redistribution of districts in Tainan “insofar as it is practicable.”
DPP Tainan Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said the provision for redrawing districts was made by KMT legislators 10 years ago to protect a KMT seat in Kaohsiung, a pan-green stronghold.
However, when Tainan city and county were merged and upgraded into a special municipality in 2010, which resulted in a nominal increase of its population to 1.88 million, he said the KMT used “unconstitutional” motions to block a corresponding apportioning of seats in the legislature for Tainan.
“The number of legislative seats of a jurisdiction should be adjusted according to the proportional share of the population, exactly as the laws and regulations say,” Wang added.
The likelihood of having another electoral district in Tainan is expected to draw a lot of interest, especially among DPP politicians, who see it as a tantalizing opportunity in a reliable pan-green voter base.
Local DPP politicians such as Lin Yi-chin (林宜瑾), Lee Tui-chih (李退之), Tsai Wang-chuan (蔡旺詮), Chiu Li-li (邱莉莉) and Lai Hui-yuan (賴惠員), might join the race, if there is one, for a district in 2020, sources said.
Other potential DPP contenders include Chen Tsung-yen, Deputy Minister of Labor Kuo Kuo-wen (郭國文), former Tainan county commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智), Tainan City Council Acting Speaker Kuo Hsin-liang (郭信良) and Tainan City Councilor Chen Yi-chen (陳怡珍), they said.
The repercussions for creating a new electoral district could be felt as early as 2018, a political observer said.
It is highly likely that the DPP would field one of its current Tainan lawmakers as the mayoral candidate for the city in that election, creating a vacancy that would trigger a legislative by-election and lead to early political maneuvering by hopefuls for the 2020 race, observer said.
Additional reporting by Wang Chun-chung
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