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October, 1, 2016

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DPP wins 68 seats in Legislature for first-ever majority

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) became the majority in the Legislature for the first time in party history, ousting the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) whose seats were almost halved in the parliamentary elections yesterday.

The DPP won 68 seats – consisting of 50 electoral district seats and 18 at-large seats – up from its total of 40 seats taken in the 2012 elections.

The KMT suffered a heavy defeat, with its number of seats decreasing sharply to 35 from 64. It will only have 24 district seats and 11 at-large seats in the 113-seat Legislature.

The reshuffle to the political topography in the Legislature was also seen among smaller parties.

The New Power Party (NPP), a rising political force formed by young reformers, obtained five seats, replacing the People First Party (PFP) as the third largest party in Taiwan. The NPP won three district seats and two at-large seats.

Many of the NPP members are political newcomers, including its chairman, Huang Kuo-chang, who are closely associated with the students-led Sunflower Movement that saw protesters storm the Legislature two years ago over the signing of a trade pact with China.

The NPP drew support from the DPP for the district seat elections but competed keenly with it for the at-large seats. For the district seats, its political debutants achieved the impressive results mostly at the expense of veteran KMT lawmakers.

The PFP managed to win three at-large seats, but failed to take any district seats.

All other small parties failed to win any of the seats up for grabs in the elections, except for the re-elected Legislator May Chin-Kao from the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union.

In the last Legislature, the pro-independence Taiwan Solidarity Union still had two seats. The pro-unification New Party failed to win any seats in 2012 and was again left empty-handed this term.

Only one independent candidate managed to take a seat in the new Legislature, which will be inaugurated in February.

The DPP had a clean sweep in the eastern counties of Hualien and Taitung, where it had seldom won in the past.

Many veteran KMT legislators' re-election bids failed, including those of Ting Shou-chung in Taipei and Yang Chiung-ying in Taichung.

KMT Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin chose to run in Keelung, a traditional stronghold for the KMT. But the former Taipei mayor also lost.

While KMT's Wang Jin-pyng won an at-large seat, he is unlikely to retain the parliamentary speakership that he had held since 1999.

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