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TPP will vote for own Legislative Yuan speaker

Taiwan People's Party decision makes election of KMT speaker pick more likely

 Chen Chao-tzu, Ko Wen-je, Huang Kuo-chang, and Huang Shan-shan attend a press conference in Taipei on Wednesday. (CNA photo)

 Chen Chao-tzu, Ko Wen-je, Huang Kuo-chang, and Huang Shan-shan attend a press conference in Taipei on Wednesday. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) has decided not to directly back either of Taiwan’s two major party picks for Legislative Yuan speaker and instead nominated its own candidate for the law-making body’s top job.

The TPP held a press conference on Wednesday (Jan. 31) and nominated Huang Shan-shan (黃珊珊) for the role, per CNA. Party Chair Ko Wen-je (可文智) said that Taiwan needs a small independent party to serve the country.

He added the TPP does not want to be seen as aligned with either the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) or the Kuomintang (KMT).

The first legislative session after Taiwan’s general election on Jan. 13 will be held on Thursday (Feb. 2). During the session the legislative speaker candidate that receives a majority of lawmakers’ votes will be elected speaker.

The TPP said that if Huang is not elected during the first round of voting, its members will not vote in the second. If during a second vote, all lawmakers vote for the legislative speaker candidate put forward by their own party, the KMT’s pick would be elected speaker, as the party holds the most seats.

When asked if the TPP’s strategy amounted to tacit support of the KMT’s candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), Ko said directly voting for Han would be a more direct way of achieving this. Ko said he did not notify the KMT or DPP about his party’s voting intentions.

TPP will vote for own Legislative Yuan speaker
Huang Kuo Chang meets with You Si-kun (left) and Han Kuo-yu (right) on Monday. (CNA photos)

The TPP’s announcement ends speculation that it would work with other political parties to elect a speaker as it previously said it would. On Monday, members of both the KMT and the DPP’s picks for speaker met with the TPP for discussions.

The DPP said it would support the reelection of You Si-kun (游錫堃) to the speaker’s position. However, with only 51 seats in the legislature compared to the KMT’s 52, the DPP will not be able to elect You to the position alone.

Despite that, the election of the KMT’s Han to the legislature's top job is not a foregone conclusion. Legislators will cast their votes in a secret ballot, leaving the TPP the option to vote for another party’s candidate anonymously.

There have also been instances of legislators mistakenly voting for the wrong candidate in the past, a problem made worse by the fact that all legislators' names are listed as choices to vote for. This occurred in 2020, when a legislator mistakenly voted for a candidate named Lai Pin-yu (賴品妤) instead of a candidate named Lai Shih-pao (賴士葆) after reading the names incorrectly.

There was only one legislator surnamed Han and two surnamed You elected on Jan. 13, though there were seven Huangs.