Written by Brian Hioe. The results of nine-in-one elections the past weekend prove reminiscent of 2018, in which the KMT surprised with unexpected gains after the crushing defeat it faced in 2016. This was particularly the case given that the KMT captured the traditional DPP stronghold of Kaohsiung as part of the “Han wave” phenomenon.
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.
Written by T.Y. Wang. Taiwan will hold its 2022 local elections on November 26. Dubbed the “9-in-1” elections, voters will select candidates in several races, including mayors of the six special municipalities, 16 county/city magistrates, council members, and heads and representatives of boroughs. Candidates of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the main opposition Nationalist Party (Kuomintang or KMT), and smaller parties, such as the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) and the New Power Party (NPP), will participate in the elections. The electoral outcomes will have important political implications as they not only determine the fate of candidates running for more than 11,000 positions but also impact the future direction of main political parties, the viability of small parties and the playing field of the country’s 2024 presidential election.
Written by Mei-Chuan Wei. The term ‘Dissertation Gate’ has been used by the media and general public to highlight an issue which marked the 2022 local election campaign in Taiwan. It refers to the phenomenon unseen before the mayoral by-election of Kaohsiung City in 2020, when the candidate of the Kuomintang (the KMT) Mei-jhen Li (李眉蓁) was fiercely criticised for plagiarism in her Master’s dissertation. Li publicly apologised for her plagiarism after the university from which she obtained her Master’s decided to revoke her degree. Whether or not plagiarism was the major factor contributing to Li’s failure in the election remains to be proved. Yet negative campaign strategies focusing on candidates’ dissertations, specifically plagiarism, have become increasingly popular among almost all parties since then.
Written by Yu-tzung Chang. What is more worrisome is that the majority of candidates in this local election have adopted a negative campaign strategy and have not put forward specific policy proposals, which may lead to more confrontation in society in the future. Political polarization has produced a crisis of democracy in Western countries. Traditional political polarization is being replaced by affective polarization, in which partisans are hostile to supporters of other parties and regard them as the main enemy. Taiwan is no exception to these developments. This will have a potentially negative effect on the development of Taiwan’s democracy.
Written by Brian Hioe. Educational credentials have outsized significance in Taiwanese politics. This can be observed in that many recent scandals in the 2022 elections have been linked to the educational background of candidates, most visibly with the wave of plagiarism scandals that have been slung at candidates of both camps.
Written by Timothy S. Rich and Kole Ingram. To what extent does the Taiwanese public trust the Tsai Ing-wen administration? Furthermore, does trust in the administration’s COVID policy fare better than generalized trust?
Written by Julia Marinaccio and Jens Damm. However, Taiwanese journalism also did its share. Like the political party system, Taiwan’s existing media landscape is ideologically divided over the question of how to fashion cross-Strait relations. Through their ideological orientation paired with a lack of investigative journalism, they act as mouthpieces of political parties. In doing so, they reinforce existing political cleavages rather than exercising their role as informants and watchdogs.
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.
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?
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?
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.