How did the DPP perform in the local elections?

Written by Jonathan Leung. Less than a week after the 2022 local elections, the mid-terms showed a completely different result than the national election two years ago. With a landslide victory of 8.17 million votes in the 2020 presidential election, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has only received 4.74 million ballots for the mayoral and magistracy elections. Under Tsai Ing-wen’s leadership, the party has received the highest and lowest votes in history in national and local elections.

Taiwan’s mid-term elections: Most politics is local, the KMT remains a force to be reckoned with, and the DPP needs to regroup

Written by Gerrit van der Wees. The main indicator of how well the parties did, was the number of city mayor and county magistrate positions they gained or lost: the ruling DPP went down from their current number of seven positions to five, while the opposition KMT went down from their current number of 14 to 13, with two of the remaining seats going to independents, and one, Hsinchu City, to the Taiwan People’s Party of Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je. In one location, Chiayi City, the election had to be postponed until December 18 because of the death of a mayoral candidate.

Taipei Mayoral Race: For the City or for the Party?

Written by Jonathan Leung. Less than three weeks before the 2022 Taiwanese Local Elections, the limelight is on Taipei City, Taoyuan City, Hsinchu City and Miaoli County. Multiple candidates from different parties running in these constituencies are unprecedented and will surely add uncertainties to the polling results. The first pass-the-post system renders the mayoral campaign a competition between the Chinese Nationalists Party (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Yet, the young established New Power Party (NPP) and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) have both nominated candidates to run for mayoral and magistrate posts and city councillors. Rather than being also-rans, they now stand a decent chance to win. This article examines the case of the Taipei City Mayoral Election, evaluating the differences between the two traditionally dominant parties and the newly established ones.

South Korea’s Application to CPTPP, What Caused the Delay?

Written by Sohyun Zoe Lee. In 2010, the United States (US) extended an invitation to South Korea to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) after the successful conclusion of the Korea-US free trade agreement (FTA). At the time, South Korea was rapidly growing as a hub of FTAs, negotiating multiple cross-regional FTAs, including those with big and advanced economies such as the US and the European Union. Surprisingly, however, it had refrained from joining the TPP. Meanwhile, South Korea joined another mega-regional FTA, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), launched in 2012. With the emergence of RCEP, 2010 became recognised as the start of an era of the competitive rise of mega-regional FTAs. Moreover, South Korea reached an inter-ministry consensus in April 2022 under the Moon Jae-in administration. This is when it officially announced the government’s decision to apply for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for TPP (CPTPP), the successor of TPP, after the withdrawal of the US. Against this backdrop, why is South Korea yet to join CPTPP? 

Resilience, State Capacity and Public Trust in Combating Pandemics, Case of Taiwan (Part I)

Written by Chun-Yi Lee. When it comes to combating pandemics, the public’s trust is crucial to the government’s response. The experience of COVID-19 demonstrates how well a government led its citizens through the pandemic depends on how citizens trust and comply with government regulations. As a result, COVID-19 has challenged not only health management but also governance issues more generally. As Fukuyama indicated, the Covid-19 pandemic was like ‘a bright light shone on existing institutions everywhere’ – the way a government and society reacted to the pandemic exposed the strengths and/or inadequacies within the existing institutions. 

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.

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