2020 Elections: Three small parties seen likely to pass 5% threshold

Taipei-The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) are fighting to keep their share of the legislator-at-large seats in the January 2020 elections, as three smaller parties are likely reach the 5 percent vote threshold to obtain such seats, according to a political analyst who asked not to be named.

Apart from the DPP and KMT, the People First Party (PFP), New Power Party (NPP), and Taiwan People's Party (TPP) have released their lists of legislator-at-large nominees and are believed to have sufficient popular support to gain at least 5 percent of the vote in the legislative elections, the analyst said.

Under Taiwan's "single-member constituency, two-vote" system, each eligible voter casts two ballots in the legislative elections -- one for a district candidate and the other for a political party. Based on the vote count in the latter, at-large legislative seats are apportioned, but a political party must gain at least 5 percent of the ballots to be eligible for a share of the at-large seats.

According to the analyst, the DPP and KMT are forecast to win enough votes in the Jan. 11, 2020 elections to secure 12 to 14 at-large legislative seats.

The pro-Taiwan independence TPP, formed by Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (???) in August, and the NPP are likely to take a total of six to eight at-large seats between them, the analyst said.

The PFP, meanwhile, stands a good chance of passing the 5 percent threshold, particularly as its chairman James Soong (???) recently entered the presidential race, the analyst said.

KMT supporters who are not pleased with its legislator-at-large nominations are likely to cast their party votes for the PFP or TPP, the analyst said, referring to a recent controversy over the KMT's at-large list.

The KMT has been heavily criticized for nominating several controversial figures for at-large seats, including retired Lt. Gen. Wu Sz-huai (???), a pension reform activist who was panned in Taiwan for attending a Sun Yat-sen (???) commemoration ceremony in 2016 in China, at which Chinese President Xi Jinping (???) gave a speech.

Amid the controversy over the KMT's at-large list, its support in public opinion polls has dropped 4 percent over the past few days, the analyst said.

However, KMT Deputy Secretary-General Tu Chien-teh (???) recently told CNA that the party is confident it can obtain 16 to 18 legislator-at-large seats in next year's elections.

According to a party source, the KMT is working with ideologically similar parties on the possibility of building a coalition to gain a majority in the Legislature next year.

Meanwhile, Chang Shuo-wen (???), head of the PFP organization department, said his party hopes to retain its three legislator-at-large seats and possibly win some more.

Ahead of the TPP's first election, it is polling at 10 to 12 percent, which would translate into four legislator-at-large seats if those numbers hold true in the elections, a source in the party said.

The TPP will pick up more swing voters as the campaign progresses and when pro-blue or other pro-green make missteps, the source said.

The TPP's poll numbers, however, have been affected by Soong's entry into the presidential race and the PFP's nomination of two top aides to billionaire Terry Gou (???) for legislator-at-large seats, the source said.

Nonetheless, increased support for the PFP is likely to affect the KMT more than the TPP since most PFP supporters are considered pan-blue voters, the source said.

Gou, founder of Taiwanese manufacturing giant Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., lost in the KMT's presidential primary to Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kou-yu (???) in July.

For a while, Gou was said to be mulling an independent run for president, but he decided instead to work with the TPP in the legislative elections.

In the 113-seat Legislature, 73 seats are directly elected in winner-take-all constituencies, six are reserved for indigenous candidates elected by indigenous voters, and 34 are at-large seats allocated based on the proportion of the political party vote.

In the 2016 elections, the DPP obtained 18 legislator-at-large seats, the KMT 11, the PFP three, and the NPP two.

According to a United Daily News poll on Monday, the DPP and KMT are neck and neck at 29 percent for the party vote in the legislative election, followed by the TPP with 8 percent, the PFP 4 percent, and the NPP 3 percent. Some 25 percent of voters are still undecided about which party to vote for in the legislative elections, the poll showed.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel