Brainchild of Taipei City mayor wins 5 legislative seats

Taipei City Mayor and Taiwan People's Party Chairman Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) swarmed by supporters at a rally in Taipei on Friday. (CNA)
Taipei City Mayor and Taiwan People's Party Chairman Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) swarmed by supporters at a rally in Taipei on Friday. (CNA)

TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) — Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), the brainchild of Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), was the highest-scoring small party in the party-list election, securing five seats in the parliament.

The Rise of Small Political Parties

Traditionally, Taiwan’s two main parties, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and more China-friendly Kuomintang (KMT), have dominated Taiwan politics.

In 2016, out of the eighteen small parties that entered the party-list race, the New Power Party (NPP) and James Soong’s (宋楚瑜) People First Party (PFP) secured a total of four legislator-at-large seats. This year,

Together, TPP and NPP won eight seats this year.

Austin Wang, assistant professor in political science at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, said that he thinks Ko and Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌), NPP chairman, proved that a single political star can get a lot in the party-list election.

“However, being professionals are not enough — you must prove your capacity in the politic arena. Therefore, small parties should still start from local congress or cooperate with the larger parties so as to gain the experience and prove themselves,” he wrote in an email.

First on the TPP’s party list is Taipei City labor bureau Chief Lai Hsiang-Lin (賴香伶), who has served in the public section for more than 10 years.

Lai told The China Post that her first act as a legislator is to push for residential justice, a better working environment and support for female workers.

NPP Strategized Party-List Win

According to Lev Nachman, a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of California, Irvine who studies closely Taiwan politics, the NPP this year adopted a very different strategy from last year in the legislative elections.

“They’ve opted to have a different cohort of candidates running in single-member districts. Their candidates this year are much less famous and much less well-known. Instead, they’ve put their most famous candidates on the party list as a means to try to get people to vote for the party,” he said.

The NPP was formed out of the aftermath of the Sunflower Movement in 2014.

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