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…

Picture taken from the Guardian
Picture taken from the Guardian

…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

Picture taken from Wikipedia
Spread of the legislative seats in 2015, shown by each party color. Picture taken from Wikipedia

Of these 6 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

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 3 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.

Picture taken from Green Party promotion video

However, this leaves party C with only 3% of the votes. Logically it would land them 1 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 from from The News Lens.

Each ballot counts. Never forget that.

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