National Assembly election eclipsed
The Taiwan opposition leaders' visits to the mainland have overshadowed the National Assembly election scheduled for Saturday, adding to the public apathy about the poll, observers say.
Surveys this month found more than 60 per cent of voters were aware of the election, which will select 300 delegates to vote on constitutional amendments. But at least 40 per cent said they might not take part because they would prefer to vote for individual candidates rather than political parties or groups.
Twelve groups, including the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and the main opposition Kuomintang, People First Party and Taiwan Solidarity Union, will take part in the poll.
The National Assembly will vote on proposed constitutional changes aimed at halving the number of seats in the legislature and replacing an unwieldy proportional representation system.
It will also vote on whether the island can hold public referendums to approve future constitutional changes - a controversial issue because Beijing fears Taiwan could use them to change the island's political status and declare formal independence.
The election comes after the passage of a constitutional amendment bill by the Legislative Yuan in August last year.
Under the bill, the number of the legislative seats will be reduced by half to 113 from 225, while the tenure of legislators will be extended from three to four years.
The method of legislative elections will also be changed from the 'multi-member district, one-vote system' to a 'single-member district, two-vote system'.
The National Assembly will be abolished after the delegates complete the revision in a one-month session starting on May 30. After it is abolished, the public will vote on constitution-related bills that have been approved by the legislature.