Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang loses majority in parliament

Kuomintang Party presidential candidate Eric Chu (centre) and his wife Kao Wan-ching (right) bow as he concedes defeat on Jan 16, 2016.
Kuomintang Party presidential candidate Eric Chu (centre) and his wife Kao Wan-ching (right) bow as he concedes defeat on Jan 16, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang lost its long-held majority in parliament, after the party was trounced by the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party in the legislative elections on Saturday (Jan 16).

The KMT managed to win only 35 of the 113 seats up for grabs, losing 29 seats from the 2012 elections.

It was swept aside by the DPP, which clinched 68 seats. The year-old New Power Party made a breakthrough by picking up five seats, while the People First Party won three seats. The Non-Partisan Solidarity Union and independent each won one seat.

The DPP managed to unseat the KMT in its traditional strongholds across Taiwan in Taipei, Taichung and Hualien.

With the DPP's first-ever parliamentary majority since direct legislative elections were introduced in Taiwan in 1992, the pro-independence party will have a firm control of government. Its chairman Tsai Ing-wen was elected Taiwan's first ever female president.

This will make it easier for the president-elect to push ahead with her reforms, including crafting economic policies or negotiating with China.

One of the KMT's biggest losses was in Keelung, with its vice-chairman Hau Lung-bin conceding defeat. He was up against a relatively unkown city councillor Tsai Shih-ying from the DPP and the People First Party's Liu Wen-hsiung.

Mr Hau, the son of a former premier and himself a former Taipei mayor who is touted as a possible future presidential candidate, also announced that he will step down, following the resignations of KMT chairman and presidential candidate Eric Chu and Taiwan premier Mao Chi-kuo.