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September 20, 2017

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DPP might improve success rate with slightly better timing

The Cabinet decided on Sept. 26 that, contrary to the proposal of the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA), the monthly minimum wage should remain unchanged unless quarterly economic growth exceeds 3 percent for two consecutive quarters or the unemployment rate is lower than 4 percent for two consecutive months. As a result, CLA Minister Wang Ju-hsuan (王如玄) announced her resignation in protest of the decision.

It is unprecedented for the Cabinet to rebuke the proposals of the CLA, which came up with its minimum wage plan based on consensus among all parties. The Cabinet's decision sparked outrage among citizens. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vowed to take to the street with workers.

For most political theorists and sociologists, protests and demonstrations are measures taken when the political system of a society fails to solve a problem through established mechanisms. Suffering citizens then have no choice but to launch demonstrations, pressuring the government to alter the system to accommodate their needs.

Although the Legislative Yuan's seats are largely taken by the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), the DPP — the largest opposition party in Taiwan — does not seem to be so powerless as to have no measure to counteract the unpopular decision made by the Cabinet. In fact, with more than one-third of the seats in the Legislative Yuan, the DPP could have proposed a motion of no-confidence to exert pressure upon the Cabinet, had they not already proposed it on Sept. 18.

According to law, if a vote of no-confidence fails, legislators cannot propose one against the same premier again within a year. Since the DPP lost the no-confidence vote on Sept. 22, that same tactic will be out of the question for a while if the KMT initiates another unpopular policy.

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