Divided Government under the Predominance of the Opposition Party:The Case of Kaohsiung County’s Executive and Legislature Relations (1985- 2003)





Published date: 

December, 2004


Da-Chi Liao
Chen-Lin Hung


The paper tries to explore the plausible types of a divided government which has a predominant opposition party in the legislature, and the influences of these divided types may exercise upon their legislature and executive relations. The main reasons for doing so are, on the one hand, Taiwan’s county governments so far have had a very unbalanced seat share between their ruling and opposition party in their county councils. On the other hand, the relevant literature of divided government has not seriously dealt with this very unbalanced divided situation.

The paper mainly deducts from Ricker & Olson’s rational choice logic and suggests the following four types of divided governments which have predominant opposition parties in their legislatures. These four are: I. opposition seats are over half, the ruling party are a few. II. The opposition are over half, the ruling party are some. III. The opposition is relatively plural, the ruling party are a few. IV. The opposition is plural, the ruling party are some. This paper also defines the Executive-Legislature relations into three dimensions: First is the atmosphere of their interaction during the question period; the second is the cutting ratio of annual budget by the council; the third refers to the number of bills proposed by the government and the passing ratios of these government bills. This paper also assumes that the Executive leaders’ rationality is to realize their policy goal. Council persons are self-interested since they only care about whether or not they could distribute benefit to their own interests. Based upon these rational assumptions, this paper proposed that Type I divided government will have a better interactive atmosphere, a lower budget cutting ratio, but has a lower government bill proposing and bill passing ratios. Concerning the other three types of divided government, while type IV produces opposite outcome as comparing to type I, type II and III should fall into the middle of that of the type IV and I.

In the examination of Kaohsiung county case from 1985 to 2003, the impact of different types of predominant opposition party in the Council on the Executive-Legislature relation can quite cope with the theoretical expectation of that proposed by the paper.