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Ko meets Taiwan People's Party lawmakers ahead of legislative leadership vote

Nominees from KMT and DPP invited to consult with TPP caucus which vows to vote as a bloc

Ko Wen-je speaks to reporters after meeting with TPP legislative caucus in Taipei, Jan. 26.

Ko Wen-je speaks to reporters after meeting with TPP legislative caucus in Taipei, Jan. 26. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chair Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) held a closed-door meeting on Friday (Jan. 25) with the eight TPP legislators who will determine the balance of power in Taiwan’s next Legislative Yuan.

Ko called the meeting to ensure that the TPP caucus will vote uniformly in the upcoming vote for leadership of the country’s legislative body. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Ko invited candidates from the Kuomintang (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to confer with the TPP next week so that the minority party can better understand the candidate’s proposals and positions, reported UDN.

In the vote for President and Deputy of the Legislative Yuan, which will be held on Feb. 1, Ko said the party legislators will vote as a block. He said if anyone does not vote accordingly, they will face expulsion from the party, per UDN.

Of particular importance to the TPP lawmakers is the issue of reforming the Legislative Yuan into a more parliamentary model. Friday’s meeting was also an opportunity for Ko as party chair to clarify the TPP’s policy positions to the newly elected lawmakers and ensure there are no misunderstandings or disagreements among them.

Following the Jan. 13 elections, the KMT, which will have 52 out of 113 seats, put forward Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) for president and Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) as vice-president. Meanwhile, the DPP, with 51 out of 113 seats, has nominated the current Legislative Yuan President You Si-kun (游錫堃), and Vice-President Tsai Chi-Chang (蔡其昌) to maintain their leadership positions.

Ko asked the candidates to discuss their proposals behind closed doors with the TPP caucus. After emphasizing the need for the party to vote as a block, Ko said that he does not need to be present for the consultations among lawmakers, and said he hoped they could begin talks as soon as Monday (Jan. 29).

Following the meeting and remarks from Ko, Han Kuo-yu shared a message on social media imploring the TPP to support the KMT in opposing the renewed DPP leadership of the legislature. Han said that he has sincerely sought TPP support he hopes for a cooperative relationship, reported UDN.

Han’s potential deputy, Johnny Chiang, responded to the news on Friday by saying that if the TPP does not support Han as president of the Legislative Yuan, then he will also withdraw his nomination in solidarity with Han and the party and will not seek the role himself, per UDN.

In the next Legislative Yuan, no party will have enough legislators to form a majority, which will give the eight person TPP caucus an outsize influence in the legislative process for the next four years.

Although there are two independent legislators in the 113 seat Legislative Yuan who are expected to vote with the KMT, the KMT will still be three votes short of a majority in determining leadership and passing legislation. The DPP, in contrast, will face a shortage of six votes, with the TPP legislators representing the best chance for both parties to exert power in the legislature.