Reaching Beyond Traditional Voting Blocs: Taiwan’s DPP Launches Campaign in the Matsu Islands

Written by Wen Lii. As Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) enters its primaries ahead of the November 2022 midterm elections, DPP candidates in the Matsu Islands face a different challenge: the party has never nominated candidates for local posts in Matsu. The county has long been considered a stronghold for the opposition Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). The DPP could potentially nominate ten or more candidates in Matsu at various levels of government, although nominations are yet to be finalised until May or June. The upcoming races will mark a historic first for the DPP’s participation in these local posts in Matsu. This will signal an unprecedented scale and scope for DPP campaign activities in Matsu, with the opportunity to further solidify grassroots support. 

Solidarity Rally For Ukraine Takes Place At Liberty Plaza

Written by Brian Hioe. Several hundred rallied at Liberty Plaza yesterday in the largest of a series of solidarity rallies that have taken place in Taipei since late February. The event sought to call attention to the humanitarian crisis that has ensued since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as show support for Ukrainians at a time in which their democratic freedoms and sovereignty are threatened. 

‘Too Much Love Will Kill You?’ An Account of the Recent Recall Elections in Taiwan and Subsequent Political Dynamics

Written by Chieh-Chi Hsieh. Since Taiwan’s 2020 Presidential election, 14 recall elections have taken place. Yet, it would be hard to disagree that amongst the 14 recall ballots, merely five have managed to attract nationwide media coverage and broader public attention. These include the recall elections of former Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu, city councillors Wang Hao-yu (Taoyuan City), Huang Jie (Kaohsiung City), and legislators Chen Po-wei (Taichung City), Freddy Lim (Taipei City). So, what are the underlying political implications of these recall campaigns and their subsequent developments?

What the December 18th Referendum Means for U.S.-Taiwan Relations

Written by Milo Hsieh. On December 18th, Taiwanese voters headed to the polls to vote on four key referendum topics. They rejected all four referendum proposals in a close but decisive vote. The votes were held on four topics, each of which were put forth by an opponent to a policy change pushed by the Tsai administration. Voters were asked explicitly whether they support: 1) Restarting Taiwan’s defunct fourth nuclear power plant, 2) Rejecting imports of U.S. pork containing Ractopamine, 3) Tying referendums to future national elections or leaving them as separate votes, 4) Rejecting the ongoing construction of a light natural gas ship dock in Taoyuan.

Affective Polarized Elites and Rational Voters in Taiwan

Written by Yu-tzung Chang. Adam Enders, an Assistant Professor from University of Louisville, published a research paper in the Journal of Politics this year (2021). Comparing the degree of affective polarization between the political elite and the masses in the U.S., he found out that the political elites’ affective polarization is higher than the general public, and meanwhile the affective polarization is more diverge than ideology. The affective polarization of the Americans is becoming more and more revealing in current political environment.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Issues Concerning the Referendum

Written by Ian Inkster. What may turn out to be the most distinguishing characteristic of the referendums is that none of them directly address the economic catastrophes rendered by the ongoing pandemic. In large capitalist nations elsewhere, especially in the West – not so visible in, say, Japan or anywhere east of the so-called Middle East – the debate on economic futures is primarily centred on anglophone and European concerns. The pandemic in most nations has accelerated debates and deepened the divides concerning employment, technological change, and social outcomes of government policies. In particular, the big question is back to the future: How can workers improve their conditions (from no-contract employment through to spasmodic multiple tasking) and how can or should policymaking contribute?

Taiwan’s Referendums Defeated: A Win for Democracy, International space, and the Environment

Written by Gerrit van der Wees. On Saturday, 18 December 2021, the Taiwanese people went to the polls to vote on four referendums supported by the opposition KMT and opposed by the ruling DPP of President Tsai Ing-wen. The result was a sound defeat of all four proposals and a significant win for the policies of President Tsai. Below is an analysis of what happened.

Referendums and Their Relationship to Taiwan’s Politics

Referendums and Their Relationship to Taiwan’s Politics Written by Chia-hung Tsai. Perhaps the biggest challenge for the DPP is the import of the US pork referendum. However, the KMT argues that the referendum targets every pork product containing ractopamine, which is used to enable animals to grow larger and leaner. This drug is currently legal in the US but banned in Taiwan. Many polls show that most people agree to ban meat containing ractopamine, partly because food safety is a salient issue in Taiwan, especially after the gutter oil incidents in 2014. The DPP seems to frame this referendum as the plebiscite on whether Taiwan would ally with China or US.

The History and Significance of Referendums in Taiwan

Written by John F. Copper. On December 18, 2021, a four-question referendum will be presented to voters in Taiwan. The first question deals with constructing a receiving terminal for natural gas on Taoyuan’s Datan Algae Reef. The second is about importing pork from the United States that may contain a possible dangerous additive. The third concerns the activation of the Lungman Nuclear Power Plant. Finally, the fourth allows, or rejects, referendums being held together with general elections.

Making Sense of Taiwan’s Invitation to the Summit for Democracy

Written by Charles K. S. Wu, Austin Horng-En Wang, Fan-Yu Chen, Yao-Yuan Yeh. Amidst the latest series of actions that draw China’s ire, the U.S. officially invited Taiwan to participate in an inaugural Summit for Democracy along with 109 states. Though the summit has several major themes for discussion on its agenda, including defending against authoritarianism, fighting corruption, and promoting human rights, many observers would agree that the convention is primarily symbolic and would not deliver substantial policy changes among the participants.

What Does the Summit for Democracy Tell Us About U.S.-Taiwan Relations?

Written by John W. Tai. The Biden administration just concluded its first Summit for Democracy. Prior to the event, the world took notice that Taiwan was among the 111 countries invited, but much to China’s ire, the latter was not. This invitation is the latest in a series of moves that seems to demonstrate Washington’s determination to upgrade its ties with Taiwan. In this context, what should we make of Taiwan’s participation in President Biden’s signature event? What does it mean for U.S.-Taiwan relations?

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