DPP’s You elected legislative speaker (update)

Taipei, Feb. 1 (CNA) Veteran politician You Si-kun (游錫堃) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was elected speaker of the Legislative Yuan on Saturday on the opening day of a new legislative session, garnering 73 votes from the 113 lawmakers.

With his election, the 72-year-old You becomes the second DPP member to preside over the nation’s lawmaking body since its founding in 1928 when the Republic of China government was still based in China.

The first was You’s direct predecessor Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), who served as speaker from February 2016 to January 2020.

In his address after being elected, You listed lowering the minimum voting age as one of his top priorities during the new legislative session, with the aim of encouraging people of all ages to jointly work together in running the country.

Taiwan is a country, and all of its people are part of one big family,” said the pro-independence former DPP chairman in his address.

Only through cooperation between different generations can the country develop sustainably in the future, he said.

In Taiwan, a revision to the Referendum Act that took effect in January 2018 lowered the voting age for referendums from 20 to 18.

Lowering the voting age in general elections, however, will need an amendment to the country’s Constitution, which could be challenging for the ruling party since the change would require the support of at least three-fourths of the body’s 113 lawmakers.

Aside from receiving support from his own party’s 61 legislators, You was also backed by other pan-green lawmakers, including three from the New Power Party (NPP) and one from the Taiwan Statebuilding Party (TSP), as well as three independents and all five Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) lawmakers.

You’s main rival, Kuomintang (KMT) candidate Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆), received 36 votes, two fewer than the seats his party holds in the Legislature.

You, one of the founding members of the DPP in 1986, was chairman of the party from 2006 to 2007. He previously served as the nation’s premier from 2002 to 2005, though he had never before been elected as a lawmaker.

Later Saturday, DPP’s Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) was re-elected with 65 votes to serve as deputy speaker, a post he has held since 2016.

The speaker and deputy speaker elections were held after the 113 lawmakers were sworn in earlier Saturday to begin their four-year terms.

In the new Legislature elected in January, the DPP won 61 seats, down from 68 it won in 2016 but still more than the 57 seats needed for a majority.

The main opposition KMT won 38 seats, while two pan-green (pro-DPP) parties, the NPP and TSP took three seats and one seat, respectively.

The TPP, formed in August 2019 by Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), became the third largest party in the Legislative Yuan following last month’s election.

Although the party did not win any directly elected seats, it won 11.2 percent of the political party vote, which gave it five legislator-at-large seats.

(By Chen Chun-hua and Joseph Yeh)


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