Written by Milo Hsieh. On January 30th, the Tsai administration finalised its cabinet reshuffle. With former vice-President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) taking the helm of Taiwan’s Executive Yuan as premier, Tsai brings back a former ally as the four-year tenure of former Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) concludes after a series of electoral fumbles by the DPP. Moreover, with Taiwan’s 2024 presidential and legislative election less than a year away, the party also shifts back closer to its founding principles with the election of Vice-president William Lai (賴清德) as chair.
Judicial Reform in Taiwan in the context of the Citizen Judges Act
Written by John Burn. In her inauguration speech in 2016, it was claimed that Tsai Ing-Wen received her most rapturous applause for her pledges to institute reform of the judiciary and criminal law proceedings. In a climate of widespread public mistrust in a perceived detachment of judges’ interpretations of the law and public morality, Tsai embarked upon her stage of the long and slow relay of reform. So far, her administration’s most significant stride in this direction has been the Citizen Judges Act, which came into effect on the 1st of January this year. Yet this measure is only the latest legislative development in the long, complicated course of Taiwanese judicial reform.
WHAT DOES THE TSAI ADMINISTRATION’S CABINET RESHUFFLE INDICATE?
Written by Brian Hioe. A cabinet reshuffle that took place over the Lunar New Year has swapped out a number of key positions in the Tsai administration.
The TPP in The Legislative Yuan: Controversies, Challenges and Future
Written by Chengyu Yang. Despite having only five seats in the Legislative Yuan, the TPP legislators have done a relatively impressive job in the 2022 legislative sessions. For example, in the fifth session of the 10th Appointed Date in the first half of 2022, according to public data provided by the Legislative Yuan, TPP legislators introduced 105 bills, most of which were introduced by party caucus, and individual legislators introduced only two cases. Furthermore, in the fifth session, the Citizen’s Congress Watch (CCW, 公民監督國會聯盟), a third-party watchdog in Taiwan, announced that among the 24 outstanding legislators elected to the Legislative Yuan in the tenth session, 19 were from the DPP, four from the TPP and one from the NPP. With such results, what kind of 2023 will the TPP legislators face? How should the TPP handle the relationship between the party’s affairs and legislators? And how will the TPP set the election goal for the Legislative Yuan election in 2024? These are all questions that deserve our attention.
Green-White Break-up? Relationship between the TPP and DPP
Written by Jonathan Leung. During the 2022 local elections, the TPP often forcefully criticised the DPP candidates, treating them as the largest political rival. Yet, after Su Tseng-chang’s resignation as premier, there is a sudden suggestion asking Tsai Ing-wen to appoint Ko, the former Taipei City Mayor, to be the new premier. This could pave the way for William Lai, the freshly elected DPP leader and incumbent Vice President, to cooperate with Ko and re-establish the Green-White political alliance to resolve their hostility in the previous year.
Blue-White Cooperation Will Always Remain A Rumour
Written by Jonathan Leung. The occasions of politicians from the TPP and the KMT appearing in the same scene has increased gradually; their ambiguous relationship has become one of the trendiest topics in the party politics of Taiwan. Ann Kao, the TPP elect Hsinchu Mayor, was publicly endorsed by KMT politicians. Various TPP councillor candidates were also caught campaigning with KMT candidates in the previous election. The rumours of the two parties forming a political alliance have been rising in the past year, especially regarding the campaign of the 2022 local elections. People are concerned about their relationship this year as the national election is coming in January 2024. The voices of the two parties jointly nominating presidential candidates is the most discussed topic now. This article concludes their previous interactions and examines their probable future relation.
Moving on towards “grassroots” 2023: The TPP’s post-election challenges and opportunities
Written by Chengyu Yang. “Break the Blue-Green Fierce Fighting.” The slogan of the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) perhaps represents some of the people’s thoughts. Although they might not be their preferred choice, the TPP is undeniably the current most high-profile challenger party. Moreover, as its political position in the previous years is perceived as “vague and ambiguous” by the Taiwanese public, it also attracts the media’s attention. This makes it one of the most worth focusing topics in the coming year of Taiwanese party politics. In this mini-series, to offer a relatively holistic view of TPP’s past and future, we will take a quick look at the topics like TPP’s electoral strategies, its relations with the “pan-green camp” and “pan-blue camp”, its political positions, as well as TPP’s legislative performance.
Return to the Land and People: Contemporary Indigenous Knowledge System Project in Taiwan
Written by Yi-tze Lee. Following the Construction of the Taiwanese Indigenous Knowledge System (hereafter IKS) Project initiated by the Council of Indigenous Affairs (原住民族委員會), the establishment of the regional Indigenous Knowledge System Center is booming in 2022. The commissioned project results from a long fight for the indigenous cultural right, an example of autonomy in indigenous studies, and efforts on identity awakening. This article will explain the background of the IKS project, discuss the expectation, and reveal some critiques of the project in general.
Police’s Right to Use Firearms? Lessons from the Murder of Two Police Officers in Taiwan
Written by Ting-Yi Bai. In August 2020, the murder of two police officers shocked Taiwanese society. The police officers, Tu Ming-Cheng, and Cao Ruei-Jie, investigated larceny after receiving a report that a stolen motor had been seen near Chikan Tower in Tainan. While searching for the suspect separately, Tu Ming-Cheng was suddenly attacked by the inmate Lin Xin-Wu, who had escaped from Mingde Minimum-Security Prison. Cao Ruei-Jie was also stabbed after failing to halt the culprit. Both died in the end.
The Long and Unfinished Fight: The Constitutional Court’s Decision on Pingpu Recognition in Taiwan
Written by Wei-Che Tsai; Translated by Yi-Yu Lai. The case of Indigenous status for Siraya people has challenged Indigenous peoples’ composition and boundaries. Currently, around 580,000 Indigenous peoples are legally recognised in Taiwan. It is estimated that the population of the Pingpu peoples will increase the total number of Indigenous peoples to as high as 980,000 if the Act is declared unconstitutional, although this number may be inflated for political purposes by Taiwan’s Indigenous authorities. As a result, the authorities are worried about this judgement.
Reflections on the 2022 Taiwan Local Elections: Demise of Taiwan Identity Politics?
Written by Chia-hung Tsai. From the perspective of identity politics, the 2022 local election results are puzzling. Tsai Ing-wen remains popular, partly because the DPP government successfully contains the Covid-19 pandemic in general while maintaining economic growth. China’s military exercises as revenge for the visit of the US speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, seem to drag down Chinese’ image to a lower level. These achievements and events should boost Taiwanese identity and hence favour the DPP candidates. However, the DPP was not credited for the Covid-19 measures, economic growth, and closer relations with the US. Instead, the DPP was criticized for delayed nomination, mismanagement of quarantine policies, and long-standing income inequality. In other words, identity did not play a big part in this election.
‘Ditching the DPP’, ‘Resisting China and Preserving Taiwan’, and Democracy: Interpreting the Results of Local Elections in 2022
Written by Mei-chuan Wei. The election results led many to conclude that Taiwan voters are more concerned about the ruling DPP’s inability to deliver on its promise to create a more just society and less worried about situations in the Taiwan Straits. However, this is misleading if we consider the results of local councils. The seats of local councillors of DPP have increased, while the KMTs have decreased. How, then to interpret the signals sent by the voters as embodied in the election results from the perspective of democracy in Taiwan?