Taipei Times: 2020 Elections Analysis: Local factions lose power: academics

Regarding the prospect of the TPP — which emerged as the third-largest party in the legislature by winning 11.2 percent of the party vote for five legislator-at-large seats, Chen said the party’s sole purpose is to advance Ko’s popularity.

To this aim, Ko has purposefully placed his most trustworthy aide, former Taipei City Government adviser Tsai Pi-ju (蔡璧如), in a safe position on the the party’s list of legislative-at-large nominees to ensure she lands a seat, he said.

The soon-to-be formed TPP caucus would not be a decisive minority in the legislature, but would be able to provide checks and balances during cross-caucus negotiations by freezing bills sponsored by the DPP on Ko’s instructions, thus giving it a difficult time, he said.

Much like the People First Party, fronted by Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), the TPP is a “one-man party” that is likely to disintegrate if a presidential bid by Ko in 2024 is unsuccessful, he added.

University of Taipei associate professor Timothy Ting (丁庭宇) shared a similar opinion on the TPP, saying that Ko could seek to grow his party by poaching members of other parties.

If by any chance regional lawmakers of the KMT feel insecure, they could fall prey to Ko’s poaching, Ting said.

He dismissed Ko’s bid to form an “opposition alliance” with the KMT and New Power Party (NPP), saying that there is no reason for the KMT caucus, which is much larger, to join the TPP caucus.

The function of the TPP and NPP legislative caucuses would be to elaborate on their values — for example by participating in votes on bills, despite knowing that their motions will not pass, Ting said.

Political pedigrees do not seem to work as well as they used to, Ting said, citing the defeats of KMT legislators John Wu (吳志揚), son of former KMT chairman Wu Poh-siung (吳伯雄), and Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順), daughter of former Control Yuan member Huang Tzuen-chiou (黃尊秋).

“Local factions failing is a good thing for a democratic political system, as it would force candidates to communicate their political beliefs [with voters] and allow the not-so-fortunate people to participate in elections as well,” he said.

National Taiwan Normal University political science professor Fan Shih-ping (范世平) attributed KMT Legislator Yen Kuan-heng’s (顏寬恆) defeat at the hands of Taiwan Statebuilding Party candidate Wonda Chen (陳柏惟) to a large number of people who moved to Taichung over the past several years and do not necessarily defer to “vote captains.”

Wonda Chen’s appeal to defeat local factionalism likely worked out and motivated younger voters working in other cities to return to their hometowns to cast their votes, Fan added.

On failed re-election bids of some KMT legislators, including Huang Chao-shun and Apollo Chen (陳學聖), Fan said they are mostly old faces, while the DPP has been promoting young candidates.

The defeated KMT legislators had more explicitly showed their affiliation with Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), the KMT’s presidential candidate, than some of their KMT colleagues, which could have negatively affected their campaigns due to most people’s distrust of Han and controversies surrounding him, which had solidified his negative image in the media, Fan said.

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