KMT retains slim majority in parliament with 64 out of 113 seats

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 January, 2012, 12:00am


The Kuomintang held onto control of Taiwan's legislature yesterday after a close-run campaign, despite gains made by the pro-independence opposition.

The ruling party managed to hold on to 64 seats in the 113-member Legislative Yuan, when the final results were declared a few minutes before 10pm, compared to 40 for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

The KMT's seat total was down from 2008, but the party retains a safe majority once the loosely affiliated People First Party's (PFP) three seats are included.

President Ma Ying-jeou's party took 48 of the 79 first-past-the-post constituency places, in what proved to be an almost straight fight between the two main parties. A seat went to PFP; a seat went to an independent candidate, and one to the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union (NPSU).

Although the DPP failed to make good on earlier forecasts of an upset, the party did make inroads in a number of key seats and took some political scalps. In the Penghu Islands constituency, located between Taiwan and the mainland, DPP councillor Yang Yao took the seat for the party for the first time.

On the party voting list for the 34 so-called 'at large' seats, the KMT polled just under 48 per cent of the vote - after parties polling under 5 per cent had been excluded - 11 percentage points ahead of the DPP.

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) - a member of the 'pan-green' group with the DPP - came in third, with almost 10 per cent, 450,000 votes ahead of James Soong Chu-yu's PFP on 5.9 per cent.

Due to the top-up nature of the counting system, that gave the KMT 16 seats, with 13 for the DPP, three to the TSU and two for the PFP.

The KMT also won four of the six seats representing the island's aboriginal minorities, with the other two going to the NPSU and the PFP.

The island's famous north-south political divide was obvious in the geographical constituencies.

The KMT won all but one of the eight seats up for grabs in the capital, but electoral fortunes were virtually reversed in the southern industrial city of Kaohsiung, where the DPP romped home with seven of the nine constituencies. Similarly in Taoyuan, just outside Taipei, the KMT took all six seats, while the DPP made a clean sweep of Tainan, taking all five seats.

The two most controversial candidates were both rejected at the ballot box - the KMT's outspoken dirt-digger Chiu Yi, and the son of imprisoned former president Chen Shui-bian, Chen Chih-chung, who was standing as an independent in a bid to clear his father's name.

Both men were contesting seats in Kaohsiung.

In his concession speech, Chen thanked his team and took the blame for placing third in the constituency.