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. 

Where Have All the Sunflowers Gone? A Reflection on the Eighth Anniversary of Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement

Written by Ming-Sho Ho. But what about the Sunflower generation activists, who are mostly in their late twenties and early thirties currently? The Wild Lily generation politicians, such as Lin Chia-lung (former Minister of Transportation and Communications, 58yr.), Chen Chi-Mai (Kaohsiung City Mayor, 57 yr.) and Cheng Wen-tsan (Taoyuan City Major, 54yr.) are among promising successors to President Tsai Ing-wen. Are the younger ex-Sunflower activists poised to replicate the same pattern?

‘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?

The Political Implications of Freddy Lim’s Recall Election

Written by Chieh-Chi Hsieh. In brief, the two ballots may be conveying a down-spiralling trajectory of KMT’s popularity and supporting rate. Yet, by observing the DPP government’s actions in the respective campaigns of Lin and Lim, one can explain the diverging results of the elections. Moreover, with pan-Green media (e.g. political talk shows broadcasted on 3 Set News, Formosa TV network) continuing to focus on Lu’s actions and connections with Yen after the by-election, it makes apparent that pan-Green groups have already begun their preparations for the 2022 local elections later this year.

The KMT, Ethnic Chauvinism, and the Freddy Lim Recall

Written by Michael A. Turton. Of course, ethnic chauvinism is not the only reason for the two recalls but given how rightist politicians spearheaded the recalls, it obviously played a role. Chen and Lim’s energetic, intelligent, self-aware Taiwaneseness was obviously provoking for a colonial elite whose ideological heart contains a powerful streak of racism and ethnic chauvinism directed at other ethnicities in Taiwan. Hopefully, discussions of Taiwan politics will shed more light on this key shaper of KMT attitudes toward Taiwan, and Taiwanese attitudes toward the KMT, especially among the young.

Democratic consolidation or political populism? A reflection on the 2021 recall elections in Taiwan

Written by Li-Ning Chen. olour of KMT) camp would like to exploit the ‘hard-earned’ victory after the disastrous loss of the 2020 presidential election and the mayoralty. Meanwhile, for DPP, taking a backseat and wishing the whole thing would blow away with time was no longer feasible, since the ‘revenge recall’ (報復性罷免) campaign began to look like potential political guerrilla warfare.

Will the TPP Suffer the Same Fate as the NPP?

Written by Brian Hioe. There have been some suggestions that Ko might next seek to run for mayor of Taoyuan or Kaohsiung if a presidential bid seems remote. Beyond Ko’s Taipei mayoral term, however, it is a question as to whether the TPP’s politicians are sufficiently well-known for the party to continue without Ko fronting it in one of Taiwan’s most powerful local government positions. 

Chang Ya-chung’s Rise and Eric Chu’s Cross-Strait Vision

Written by Mingke Ma. Surprisingly, competition became fierce after the first Television policy debate on 4th September for the 2021 KMT Party Chairperson Election. The difference in support ratings on the opinion poll for the two leading candidates—former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu and former KMT chairperson Hung Hsiu-chu’s policy advisor, Professor Chang Ya-chung—had been zigzagging within the error range of 3 per cent.

Does Eric Chu’s New Leadership Role Depend on the ‘China factor’?

Written by Chia-hung Tsai. On 25 September 2021, the Kuomintang (KMT), the main opposition party, voted on the chairperson. As a result, Eric Chu (朱立倫), the former KMT chairman and ex-vice premier, was elected with 85,160, or 45.8 per cent of the votes. This election draws domestic and international media attention because the result will influence the upcoming referendums, local elections, cross-Strait relations, and even US-Taiwan relations.

Now That the Race is Over, What Kind of Chair will Chu be?

Written by Nathan Batto. Eric Chu 朱立倫 was elected KMT party chair on Saturday in a surprisingly contentious race. When Chu announced his entry into the race, the former New Taipei mayor, vice premier, presidential candidate, and KMT party chair was the favourite to win. However, most people expected his primary competition to be the incumbent party chair Johnny Chiang 江啟臣 rather than Chang Ya-chung 張亞中, an intellectual from the extreme unification wing of the party.

Studying Aging Chinese Nationalists in Modern Taiwan: A Lesson for Young Voters

Written by Ashley Deng-Yu Chen. During my interview sessions and participant-observation activities in Southern Taiwan, many findings struck me, even as a “local anthropologist”. Firstly, most of my interlocutors who had lived through the authoritarian decades under the KMT almost unanimously claimed that the current form of “democracy” and “liberal society” was not any better than the “social order” that was safeguarded by the rigid martial law order. Moreover, with the KMT losing the last general election in 2016 to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), many supporters subsequently believed that Taiwan had since sunk into a dark ditch of “political correctness” with obsessions of LGBTQ+ rights and naive revolutionist values.

Do Young People Actually Matter in Taiwanese Politics?

Written by Brian Hioe. It is not out of the question that such young people will eventually take the reins of power. Indeed, they will once older politicians depart the political scene. But all appearances to the contrary, this may be a premature assessment. It may not be, in fact, that young people have come of age in Taiwanese politics, and instead of that, they remain subject to the larger established forces that have remained dominant for decades in politics. Whether this changes is to be seen.

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