Taiwan’s Election System Complex, Vulnerable to Frauds: Experts

By LIU Weijun, CND, 2 December 2001

[CND, 12/02/01] Experts said Taiwan’s parliamentary election system was unique, complex and far away from fraud-proof, AFP reported on Friday.

The system, which was introduced to Taiwan by Japan in 1935, is based on large voting districts for multiple members. It is believed to be vulnerable to vote-buying and other frauds. Japan itself abandoned the system in 1994.

Among the 225 parliament seats to be decided in Saturday’s election, 168 are to be picked in 31 constituencies, eight each by overseas Taiwanese and native Taiwanese. The other 41 seats will be divided among political parties proportionally according to their vote share.

By average, a candidate only needs to get five percent of the votes in the election to become a lawmaker. Under the circumstance, vote buying becomes a feasible option for some candidates.

The large size of the constituency forces candidates from the same political party to fight among themselves for votes. Both the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and opposition People First Party are using the tactic of vote equalization, in which their supporters are asked to divide their votes evenly to the candidates.

Some in Taiwan have called for parliamentary reforms to downsize the parliament and reduce the size of constituencies.