Breaking the China-Taiwan Impasse

By Donald S. Zagoria; Chris Fugarino | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 15

Taiwan's Legislative and Local Elections: Their Meanings and Impacts

Xu Shiquan

On December 1, 2001, Taiwan held elections of its fifth Legislative Yuan and 23 local county commissioners and city mayors. As expected, no single party got an absolute majority in the legislature, but the voting results were full of surprises considering what the public opinion polls had predicted.

At the legislative election, the Kuomintang (KMT) suffered the second stunning setback since the general election held in March 2000, losing its half-century grip on the legislature. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) fulfilled its most optimistic expectations and emerged as the largest party. The People's First Party (PFP), a KMT splitter group formed barely a year and half ago, more than doubled its seats, becoming the decisive minority in the legislature. The New Party got only one seat, failing to meet the 5 percent threshold that allows it to claim legislator-at-large seats and campaign matching funds. The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), with Mr. Lee Deng-hui as its patron, got 13 seats, falling behind its expected 25 seats. The non-partisan independents and fringe parties won the remaining 10 seats, only half of what they won in the previous election. The fundamentalist Taiwan Independence Party (TIP), which has one seat at the current legislature, became virtually extinct, only collecting a meaningless thousand ballots.

Meanwhile, the local county commissioners' and city mayors' elections presented a different picture. The KMT emerged as a moderate winner, gaining one more populous district on the island proper, whereas the DPP lost three, to its dismay. Now the DPP and KMT control equal numbers of nine

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