Written by Raian Hossain. Despite such heightened tension in cross-strait relations across 2022, President Xi Jinping and Tsai Ing-wen have delivered their English and Lunar new year speeches, showing signs of certain tolerance and a softer tone toward each other. The message from both sides of the Taiwan Strait is not random but rather driven by political objectives and motives likely to determine the cross-Strait relations in the upcoming years. Although speeches by President Xi Jinping and Tsai Ing-wen cover numerous angles, this article uses some specific lenses of the Politics of Security, the local and presidential election of Taiwan, and pandemic politics while de-coding the Cross-strait relations for the near future.
Playing it Safe on Taiwan: China’s New Year’s Comment
Written by Brian Hioe. Perhaps ironically, the western new year’s and lunar new year’s speeches by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and Chinese President Xi Jinping touched on many of the same issues.
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.
US-Taiwan Relations in 2022 and 2023: The Good, the Bad, and It Could Get Ugly
Written by Jacques deLisle. Signals of US support for Taiwan were strikingly strong in 2022. Yet, despite the crucial role the US plays in Taiwan’s security, 2022 was also a year of jarring insecurity for Taiwan. Developments in 2023 are likely to be portentous for US-Taiwan relations and, in turn, Taiwan’s prospects more generally.
The 2022 Elections in Review: How Taiwan Failed to Adapt Voting for a Pandemic
Written by Kharis Templeman. With its colourful and fiercely contested campaigns, efficient electoral administration, and universal acceptance of the results, Taiwan’s recent local elections were, in most ways, a sign of a vibrant and healthy democracy. But one aspect failed to live up to basic democratic standards: thousands of people were denied the right to vote because they were trapped in mandatory COVID quarantine. After nearly three years of dealing with a global pandemic, Taiwan’s leaders should have been able to find some way to accommodate these citizens, as many other countries around the world have managed to do under much more difficult circumstances. Instead, they ignored the issue, and many Taiwanese were denied the right to vote. Taiwan’s democracy has received much recognition recently for its impressive vitality and resilience. But on voting rights, it is now a laggard. It can and must do better.
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?
Local elections 2022: The squeezed space for Taiwan’s alternative parties
Written by Dafydd Fell. The general picture in 2022 is one of the challenger parties being further squeezed out of the party system. After the two main parties, the third largest party in the 2022 elections was the TPP, winning Hsinchu City mayor and 14 council seats. However, its impact should not be exaggerated. Despite its greater financial resources compared to other small parties, only 14 out of the TPP’s 86 candidates were elected. Given these results, the party may struggle to be competitive in the next round of national elections in 2024.