In 2018, Taipei City mayor candidate Wu E-yang shot to fame by singing as he presented his political platform. To run for mayor of a special municipality, candidates have to hand over a deposit of NT$2 million. To run for president, candidates have to hand over NT$15 million. To run for legislator or magistrate, candidates are required to pay NT$200,000. If a candidate fails to get a certain number of votes, their deposit is confiscated. Civic groups have long criticized the system, saying it prevents young people and poor people from participating in politics.
Election deposits are unconstitutional.
Some people could hand over NT$2 million cash just to sing a song but (I personally) can't run for (Taipei City mayor) because the threshold is so high.
Fan Yun wants the system abolished. She refused to pay the deposit to run for Taipei City mayor three years ago, and the Taipei City Election Commission refused to process her candidacy application. She filed an administrative lawsuit, which was dismissed by the Taipei District High Court last month. Fan is appealing and says she will apply for a constitutional interpretation if needed.
Having money doesn't mean you won't abuse the system, and not having money doesn't mean you will abuse the system. A deposit system can't guarantee one or the other.
The deposit makes it impossible for poor people to participate in politics.
London mayor and UK parliament candidates only have to pay a deposit equivalent to NT$200,000 and NT$25,000, respectively. Japanese House of Representatives and House of Councillor candidates, meanwhile, only have to pay a deposit equivalent to NT$80,000. Italy, France and some US states do not require deposits, while Germany and Canada have ruled the system unconstitutional. Legal experts in Taiwan say the deposit threshold is too high and does not prevent election abuse, and it should therefore be replaced with a signature or registration system.