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A Case Study of the7th Legislative Yuan Election and Its Impacts on Political Ecology of Tainan County, Taiwan
Chu Chao-Hsiang PH﹒D﹒
Single Member District System
Single Member District＆ Proportional Representation System
Single Non-Transferable Vote
ecology of political parties
Democracy is widely considered to function as a political system. Thus, the implementation of an electoral system represents the essence of democracy, in which people exercise their political power, by choosing their political leaders to act on their behalf. Through elections, people can understand how democracy works, have the freedom to express their political opinions about government's policies, and vote in their personal interests. Through elections, a connection can be established between the government and its people, which makes it possible for people to influence government's policies on issues which concern them. In Taiwan, legislators were formerly elected by popular vote through single non-transferable vote in multi-member constituencies. Under this electoral system, many ugly problems have come, including electoral corruption, vote-buying, threats of election violence, partisan squabbling, intensive intra-party competition, accusations of scandals or embezzlement, radical debates or even verbal abuse during a campaign process, and a weakening of party discipline. All the above shows that Taiwan's election culture and democratic development still needs further improvements. After an amendment in the Constitution of the Republic of China in 2005, Taiwan 7th Legislative Yuan Elections were conducted by a new single-member district parallel voting electoral system. The reform of the electoral system not only impacted all political parties in Taiwan, but changed the structure of members in Legislative Yuan. Taiwan 7th Legislative Yuan Elections were held on January 12, 2008 in the Republic of China. The elections were the first held under a new single-member district parallel voting electoral system. However, Total ballots cast showed the record-low turnout. The turnout rate was 58.28 % for the party-list ballots and 58.5 % for the constituency ballots, which involved the candidates of constituency, nationwide constituency and overseas Chinese. With the change of this new electoral system, the number of seats in the Legislative Yuan has been cut in half. The new system also switched to single-member constituency from multi-member consistencies. The study focused on 7th Legislative Yuan Elections in Tainan County. Under relative plurality voting system, Tainan County was divided into three constituencies. Either boundaries of districts or a different electoral system can have a tremendous effect on election results. The study is to compare the election results between the 7th legislative election in Tainan County and the hypothetical one (Tainan constituencies under relative plurality voting system). We assume people's political tendencies remain the same and a re-election will be held. We will see if it indeed matches Duverger's Law, a principle which asserts that a plurality rule election system tends to favor a two-party system. That is, the system will favor large parties, particularly KMT and DPP. A different electoral system, as a result, will be decisive to Taiwan's political landscapes over the next years.
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