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The Republic of China’s government is quite like USA’s government in terms of separation of power, and checks and balances. The main act of the 2016 election may be the presidential election, but the side show is just as (if not more) important; 2016 election will also be the legislative elections, which is to determine the check to Taiwan’s executive branch.

As we know, the Taiwan government is unique in many ways and the legislative office is no exception, not only are there campaigns set out to lose, but there’s even more:

Legislators fight over issues…

…literally. In the 1990’s, it was not uncommon to turn on the news to see legislators physically throwing punches at each other trying to get votes. Though less common now, legislators still have many physical altercations.

There are a total of 113 legislative seats..but hard to calculate

Current spread of the legislative seats, shown by each party color. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Current spread of the legislative seats, shown by each party color. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Out of the 113 seats, six are reserved for aboriginal legislators. Of the other 107, 73 are directly voted by the people in individual districts, while the other 34 are voted through party votes. How the remaining 34 get elected is not like anything seen in American elections.

Voters will cast 3 ballots this election

As the big headliner, one ballot will be for the presidential candidate while the second ballot will be for the legislative candidate. The lesser known ballot is the third ballot, the party ballot.

First to be noted is that all three ballots could go to different political parties. You could vote for party A candidate for president, party B candidate for your district’s legislator and party C for the party ballot.

Lesser known being that even many Taiwanese voters misunderstand what this ballot is for. As previously mentioned, 34 legislators will be voted into office through party votes.

This is a math problem.

If 58% of all party votes goes to party A, then party A will have 58% of the 34 legislative seats, meaning 20 seats.

If party B obtained 39% of the 34 legislative seats, then party B will get 13 seats.

However, this leaves party C with only 3% of the votes. Logically it would land them one seat, but the constitution states that parties must obtain 5% of the votes to qualify for one seat. In this scenario, party C would actually end up with no seats.

This is only the tip of the iceberg as money starts getting in play. See below for a video by the Taiwan Green Party (not to be mistaken as the Democratic Progressive Party), which explains the entire process and the importance for smaller parties such as themselves. Or here in text (Chinese) from from The News Lens.

Each ballot counts. Never forget that.

Legislative Candidates

With the constant blue green turmoil that is DPP vs. KMT, third parties dive into this fray. Below are three interesting candidates. Go out and try to find more.

Freddie Lim (New Power Party)

Photo Credit: Picture taken from Freddy Lim's Facebook Page

Photo Credit: Picture taken from Freddy Lim’s Facebook Page

Freddie Lim made the headlines back in the early 2000’s, not as a politician but as a rocker. He was founder and lead vocal of Chthonic, a rock band that has been playing in concerts around the world. The band itself has been active in advocating social issues such as Tibet freedom, women’s rights in Taiwan and multiple other issues. Chthonic has often been associated to Taiwan independence, but when asked about it by Eddie Huang on Huang’s World, Freddie says, “it’s more like [Taiwan] should be normalized because we are not a member of the UN; we don’t act like a normal state.” With the rise of social movements like the Sunflower Movement, Freddie, along with others, formed the New Power Party and will be tackling their first election in 2016.

Hung Tzu-yung (New Power Party)

Photo Credit: Hung Tzu-yung's Facebook Page

Photo Credit: Hung Tzu-yung’s Facebook Page

In July 2013, an Army Specialist, Hung Chung-chiu, was serving his draft when he died due to military abuse. A large protest ensued as there was apparent government tampering of the surveillance footage. In the 2016 election, Hung Tzu-yung, Hung Chung-chiu’s sister, will be running for legislator of Taichung’s 3rd district. In her announcement to run, she says:

I am Hung Tzu-yung. Being a novice is no longer an excuse for me to isolate myself from politics. The current legislature is unable to meet society’s expectations of reform, so I have decided to carry this passion for reform and seek the support of the citizens to walk back into the legislature, together with my kindred-spirited friends, to represent our citizens by monitoring the executive branch, reforming the judicial branch, and raising our voices for Taiwan’s new generation. We will join hands with everyone to make practical efforts to carry out justice and promote Taiwan’s continued progress. – See more here.

Robin J Winkler (Green Party, dropped out of the legislative race on November 25)

Winkler came to Taiwan in 1977 and in 2003 gave up his US citizenship for a ROC Passport.

He was running for the Green Party, but dropped out of the race on November 25. Not to be mistaken for DPP, Green Party is a small political party that puts environment first. As the world is slowly realizing the needs to focus on preservation of our land, Robin decided to start that fight here in Taiwan.

Click here to watch Robin’s story coming to Taiwan (English)

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: Joey Chung