News

Taiwan Votes to Cut Legislature in Half Ahead of Presidential Elections

Multimedia

Audio
Andrew Ryan

Taiwan's legislature is about to be cut in half. People across the island are voting for the first time since the structure of the legislature was revamped. The elections are also seen as a possible preview of the presidential contest in March. Andrew Ryan has more from Taipei.

Election trucks on the streets of Taiwan on the last day of campaigning. Broadcasting support for candidates, they gave the island a carnival-like atmosphere in the run-up to the elections. The process will dramatically alter the legislature, cutting the number of seats from 225 to 115.

In the past, voters chose among several legislators for each district, and more than one would take office. But the new elections will see only one representative elected in each district. National Taiwan University Professor Philip Yang says the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) could benefit from the new system.

"The KMT is known traditionally as a party that has a very active grassroots organization in the local society that the KMT can mobilize," said Yang. "And this will help a new system like the one we're going to test on Saturday. So, the KMT also benefits from this."

The KMT holds a slight majority in the legislature going into the elections, and is hoping to boost its control to two thirds.

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party, DPP, is short of a majority, but hopes to win 45 to 50 percent of the seats.

Analysts say the elections can be seen as a referendum on the government's policies on China and the economy.

Professor Yang says the KMT hopes to benefit partly from dissatisfaction with President Chen Shui-bian and his DPP-led government.

"This election will be viewed as a vote of confidence, and actually more than half - or let's say more than 60 percent of the current population, according to those opinion polls, disagrees with the government's performance," said Yang.

The KMT says President Chen's moves toward greater independence from China has hindered cross-strait trade and hurt the economy.

The DPP says overinvestment in China and the loss of jobs to the mainland are to blame for Taiwan's economic problems.

Analysts say a big win in the legislative elections could carry over to the presidential vote.

While early predictions look good for the KMT, there is concern in both camps that voters are lukewarm about the elections, and that voter turnout could be low.

 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs