2020 Elections: Taipei political status quo faces new challenges

Taipei-As Taiwan’s two major political parties campaign to hold onto their current legislative seats in Taipei in the January 2020 legislative elections, their plans have been complicated by smaller parties joining the race.

The main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) currently holds five of the eight Taipei legislative districts; while the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) holds two and a DPP-leaning lawmaker one.

Asked to comment on their electoral expectations, a DPP source recently told CNA the party expects to win three seats in the Jan. 11 elections.

A KMT source said the party is confident it will hold its current five seats and possibly win seven or eight.

Traditionally Taipei is considered a KMT stronghold.

Of the city’s eight electoral districts, only Constituency 1 (comprising Beitou District and 13 boroughs in Shilin District) and Constituency 2 (comprising Datong District and 38 boroughs in Shilin District) are considered to be relatively pro-DPP, based on past Taipei legislative elections.

However, the election is more unpredictable than in past years because of the formation of the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) by Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (???) in August, as well as the involvement of smaller parties and independent candidates.

Originally a renowned doctor, Ko ran as an independent in the 2014 Taipei mayoral election which he won with the backing of the DPP.

However, he has since distanced himself from the DPP, which criticized him for his China-friendly remarks and ran a candidate against him in the November 2018 election for Taipei mayor, which Ko narrowly won.

The mayor had been widely expected to launch a bid for the presidency until he announced in September that he would not run. Instead he established the TPP and nominated four legislative candidates in Taipei.

Among the four nominees, independent Taipei City Councilor Hsu Li-hsin (???) who is running in Constituency 5 (Wanhua and Zhongzheng districts), is believed to have a chance of winning in a three-way race with former New Power Party (NPP) lawmaker Freddy Lim (???) and former four-term lawmaker Lin Yu-fang (???) of the KMT.

Lim, who quit the NPP in August due to differences with party leadership, is now backed by the DPP. Meanwhile, Lin, a veteran defense and foreign affairs expert, is aiming to return to the Legislative Yuan where he served as a lawmaker from 2002-2016 before losing the seat to Lim in the 2016 election.

Other than in Constituency 4 (Neihu and Nangang districts) where DPP and KMT candidates go head-to-head, the city’s other seven constituencies all have more than two candidates.

As the political landscape changes in the nation’s capital, DPP and KMT sources told CNA that they will do their best to solidify support among their supporters and cautiously welcome the challenge pose by new political voices.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel