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July, 27, 2016

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LY elects first-ever pan-green leaders

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) and Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) were elected as legislative speaker and deputy speaker respectively on Monday, Feb. 1 in the first day of the newly sworn-in Legislature.

It represented the first time in the nation's history that the DPP has held the speakership in the Legislative Yuan and the end of an era dominated largely by former Kuomintang (KMT) Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平). Wang held the speakership for 17 straight years from 1999.

The 68 members of the DPP caucus and the five legislators of the newly established New Power Party (NPP) chose to flash their ballots to cameras, in order to demonstrate solidarity behind Su and Tsai. Combined with a vote from an independent lawmaker, Su and Tsai each garnered 74 votes out of a possible 113 in separate voting.

DPP spokesman Yang Chia-liang (楊家俍) said that the move was representative of "the politics of accountability." Yang added that the open display of votes is a part of proposed reforms in the election of leaders in lawmaking bodies, including at the local level.

"The future Legislature will not have 'black box operations' and will not have secret meeting rooms," Su declared during his swearing-in. He promised reforms to the Legislature that would bring transparency and more access to citizens through online petitions in pointing to future policies. He added that more access would be given to journalists and that data from the Legislature would be accessible online.

Su and Tsai also announced the immediate suspension of their posts within the DPP as a means to "terminate political infighting" through the "political neutrality" of the speakership position.

"The Legislature is of the people, and the people are the Legislature," he said, promising to implement reforms that meet the expectations of the people.

Su also announced that Lin Chih-chia (林志嘉) would be invited to become secretary general of the Legislative Yuan. Lin is affiliated with the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU). Lin later told reporters that he would commit all his efforts into his responsibilities toward the lawmaking body.

The KMT, which became an opposition party for the first time since the beginning of 2008, also voted unanimously, albeit unsuccessfully, for its candidates for the speaker and deputy speakerships. Following a disastrous performance in Jan. 16's national elections, the KMT is the second largest party in the Legislature with 35 total seats.

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Lawmakers of the DPP congratulate Su Jia-chyuan, center, after he was elected as legislative speaker on Monday. In addition to chanting words of support, lawmakers also took out their smartphones to capture the historic moment. Su promised to usher in new reforms that would make the body more accountable to the people. (CNA)

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