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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs