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Taiwan Statebuilding Party legislator loses recall

Defeat to trigger by-election within three months of official proclamation

TSP Legislator Chen Po-wei conceding defeat in Saturday's recall vote. 

TSP Legislator Chen Po-wei conceding defeat in Saturday's recall vote.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan Statebuilding Party (TSP) legislator Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟) lost his seat in a recall vote backed by the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) Saturday (Oct. 23).

The campaign against Chen, the only member of his party in the 113-seat Legislative Yuan, was widely seen as revenge by the KMT for the defeat in a recall of Kaohsiung City Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) in 2020. Saturday’s was only the third recall vote in recent history to be successful, and the first one targeting a legislator.

A total of 77,899 voters in Chen’s constituency voted to support the recall motion, while 73,433 wanted him to stay on, with a total turnout of 51.72%. His defeat meant that a by-election to fill his seat would be necessary within three months after the official proclamation of the result, CNA reported.

Appearing in front of his supporters Saturday evening, Chen conceded defeat and thanked the public for having come out to vote. He pointed out the high number of opponents of the recall. During the final days of the campaign, the legislator had walked for 10 days and organized a rock concert.

The recall motion needed to pass a threshold of 73,744 votes or 25% of the 294,976 eligible voters in his Taichung City election constituency in favor to become valid, with more voters supporting the recall than opposing it. In the end, only one of the five Taichung City districts voting in the recall, Wuri, saw more ballots cast against then in favor.

Saturday’s result would lead to the disappearance of the TSP from the Legislative Yuan, only one year and eight months after it first won a seat. The party has been seen as a close ally of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), whose majority in the 113-seat legislature will not be threatened by the outcome.

The vote had been postponed from Aug. 28 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Central Election Commission (CEC) also rescheduled four referendums from that date to Dec. 18.