Legislature speakership predictions

    By Paul Lin 林保華
Taipei Times  2024.1.29

Given that none of the three main political parties won a majority in the Legislative Yuan, the elections have left Taiwanese with a serious question: Who will be elected as the legislative speaker?

The pan-blue, pan-green and white camps continue to compete with one another, and nobody knows how this will play out, or who will eventually cooperate with whom.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has already proposed pairing incoming legislator-at-large Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) and KMT Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣). This is only leverage for the KMT to negotiate further. Han might only be a figurehead, whereas Chiang would replace him once the latter fails to behave well, such as being absent or late.

However, Chiang also has an issue that the KMT needs to deal with. In two years, Chiang might run for mayor of Taichung in the local elections, and in that case, the KMT would have to clear things up again. It might just nominate Legislator Ma Wen-chun (馬文君), who has been elected five times and is still young. That would cater to China’s needs as well. The KMT knows China does not fully trust Chiang, hence his nomination should not be considered finalized. When KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) said that ballots cast for the legislative speaker need to be shown, the statement was meant to stop Fu Kun-chi (傅?萁) from running for the position. Now that Fu has withdrawn his candidacy, will the KMT propose any other candidates?

Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫?) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has been treating the upcoming election lightly. You was the premier when the DPP became the ruling party the first time. A veteran politician, he is unlikely to be taken by surprise by any political development. In the past few years, You has increasingly resembled a Taoist priest, dealing with adversity in a calm and composed manner. DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) is also confident about retaining the speakership.

In 2000, when the DPP became the ruling party, no party won the majority of legislative seats. At that time, the KMT and the People First Party (PFP) were almost the same — especially after 2005 when former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) started their collaboration with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) — and neither the KMT nor the PFP had a chance to gain more power.

The KMT has secured only one more seat than the DPP in the latest elections. Even with two independent seats supporting the KMT, the DPP has little to worry about.

The role of the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) is worth our attention. Initially, the TPP played the “key minority” card, but it turns out that no other party really cares. During the election, the TPP could behave more carelessly and choose whomever it wanted to work with, but now that it has become one of the major parties in the Legislative Yuan, it should behave for the sake of Taiwanese and stop constantly changing its tune.


Although TPP Chairman Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) once said he “hated the DPP even more,” he is unlikely to work too closely with the KMT. Any collaboration with the KMT would anger young TPP supporters, and Ko knows that. This is why he in the later phase of the election declared that he would follow President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) agenda concerning Taiwan’s foreign affairs.

The TPP would be examined and reviewed by the public when casting its ballots for the legislative speaker. If it goes against public opinion, the TPP would have to deal with internal divisions, a situation the New Power Party (NPP) knows all too well. The way in which former NPP legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) changed his affiliation to the TPP, and his refusal to take responsibility for the NPP’s decline speaks volumes. It is said that the TPP has allowed its eight legislators-elect to find their own partner if they feel like running for the speakership.

In that sense, how could the TPP be considered a functioning major political party?

Obviously, both the blue and white camps have become more moderate to some extent.

Particularly in terms of defending Taiwan’s autonomy, the stance of someone like Ma Ying-jeou was entirely wiped out in the election campaigns. KMT “blue fighter” faction member and vice presidential candidate Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康) also had to take an anti-CCP standpoint from time to time. President-elect William Lai (賴清德) of the DPP declared he would respect the choice of Taiwanese, based on which he would pull together the best administrative team under the supervision of the Legislative Yuan. He vowed he would make Taiwan a much cleaner, brighter and more progressive country.

Based on these ideals and a more moderate stance, political parties should be able to work together against the CCP’s military intimidation and economic coercion. The blue and the white camps must adhere to such a principle and resist the CCP. If the KMT refuses to work with the DPP, the ruling party should seek meaningful collaboration with the TPP, and the DPP ought to be careful, given that the TPP includes all sorts of politicians. The ruling party should choose its partners wisely.

Paul Lin is a political commentator.

Translated by Emma Liu


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