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Opposition parties form coalition ahead of Taiwan's national elections

KMT, TPP reach agreement to work together and secure more seats in legislature

TPP Chairman Ko Wen-je and KMT Chairman Eric Chu pose together following their meeting on Monday. 

TPP Chairman Ko Wen-je and KMT Chairman Eric Chu pose together following their meeting on Monday.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's opposition Kuomintang (KMT) and the Taiwan People's Party (TPP) reached an agreement on Monday (Oct. 30) to work together ahead of January's national elections.

A joint statement issued following a high-profile meeting between the parties' leadership called for democratic reform, restarting high-level cross-strait talks and exchanges, and the need for the president to address the country's highest law-making body.

The meeting between KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) and TPP's Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), a former Taipei mayor and the party's presidential candidate, agreed upon a non-formal partnership ahead of the election. This will allow the respective parties to share candidates in constituencies and win more legislative seats to gain a majority in the legislature.

The statement explains the rationale behind the collaboration, saying it will prevent the country's democratic system from erosion. It said the current system gives absolute power to a select few and undermines the will of the people.

The statement also said the two have shared goals in terms of their China and energy policies. Issues mentioned included restoring peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, restarting high-level talks between Taiwan and China, and pursuing sustainable energy policies without compromising national security, health, or financial discipline.

They also called for greater power of the legislature, saying the new administration should work in consensus with the Legislative Yuan. For example, the president should brief lawmakers and be guided by them, while appointing the premier and other critical issues should be approved by a majority in the legislature.

However, the statement did not elaborate on how the two parties are going to collaborate in January's presidential election.

Earlier this month, with polls seemingly giving Ko the upper hand over the KMT's presidential candidate Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜), Ko described the KMT's attempt to engage him to run on a joint ticket as a "forced marriage."