Taiwan’s new parliament inaugurated

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Taipei, Feb 1 (IANS) Taiwan on Monday inaugurated its new parliament, in which the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) holds an absolute majority, putting an end to over 60 years of legislative control by the nationalist Kuomintang party (KMT).

The lawmakers elected in the country’s January 16 elections were sworn-in and elected the DPP’s Su Jia-chyuan as the new speaker, to replace the KMT’s Wang Jin-pyng, who was president of the Legislative Yuan, or the Taiwanese unicameral legislature, for more than 17 years, EFE news reported.

The KMT’s strength, which has gone down from its previous count of 64 seats to just 35 in the 113-seat legislature, was dealt a harsh blow by voters in the latest elections in which the DPP won 68 seats, while the New Power Party got five, the People First Party three, and two seats were won by Independent candidates.

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The DPP’s absolute majority will let it carry out its plans of legislative, judicial, economic and social reform, as pledged by president-elect Tsai Ing-wen.

The DPP will give priority to the supervisory legislation of cross-strait agreements with China and has asked the KMT-led government to suspend plans of a goods’ trade agreement with China, membership in the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank, and entry of Chinese capital into the integrated circuit design industry, said DPP lawmaker Lin Shu-fen.

The new Taiwanese parliament has 43 women and 70 men. Among those 113 members, 27 are Ph.D. holders and 58 have Master’s degrees, and the average age of the lawmakers is 50 years.

The legislature will begin debating at the end of the month, after the holidays of the Lunar New Year, which falls on February 8.

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A new premier, the hitherto acting Premier Simon Chang, and the entire government also took oaths of office, following the tradition of government renewal after elections.

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