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Yu Shyi-kun elected legislative speaker

The former premier heads nation's highest lawmaking body after being elected at new legislative session

Yu Shyi-kun elected legislative speaker

(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's new legislative session began Saturday (Feb. 1) when the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) legislator-at-large Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃) was elected legislative speaker and now heads the country's highest lawmaking body.

Tsai Chi-Chang (蔡其昌) of the DPP was re-elected deputy speaker of the Legislative Yuan.

Yu, who served as premier from 2002-2005, won 73 of 113 votes. This included 62 from fellow DPP legislative members; five from the newly-formed and third-largest party, the Taiwan People's Party (TPP); three from the fourth-largest New Power Party (NPP); two from independent but DPP-friendly legislators, Freddy Lim (林昶佐) and Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇); and one from the minor Taiwan Statebuilding Party (TSP).

Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), a DPP member, was running as an independent candidate in the single-member constituency election for the second district of Pingtung after a regulatory glitch in the party's nomination of the legislator-at-large list. Su said after the elections that he will continue to work with the DPP caucus.

Yu's Kuomintang (KMT) rival, Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆), garnered support from just 36 legislators, two fewer than the 38 seats secured by the party in the January elections.

DPP party leader and incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) won a landslide victory in the elections, while the party retained its majority in the Legislative Yuan by winning 61 seats.

However, the DPP's share of valid legislator-at-large votes dropped by 10 percentage points compared to the 2016 legislative elections. Meanwhile, Tsai's margin of victory was up 1 percentage point from four years ago.

Over 2.8 million voters who backed Tsai in the presidential election chose not to vote for the DPP in the legislator-at-large election. Two young political parties, the left-of-center pan-green NPP and the right-of-center pan-blue TPP, secured nearly 2.6 million votes combined in the election. This was seen by many commentators as due, at least in part, to voters' desire to counter one-party dominance in the country's highest legislative body.