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.

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.

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.

Chao Shao-kang’s Return to Taiwan politics: Will He Replay the Han Kuo-yu Drama?

Written by Dongtao Qi. After a 25-year absence from the political arena, political commentator and media guru Chao Shao-kang returned to the Kuomintang (KMT), immediately declaring his intention to run for the KMT chairmanship this July and for Taiwan’s presidency in the 2024 election. This seems to have reinvigorated a deflated KMT since its defeat in the 2020 presidential election. Much speculation among the public has also ensued about whether Chao would be a flash in the pan and do even worse than former presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu who had stirred up a “Han craze” back then.

Keeping the Door Open: How Taiwan’s Gender Quotas Brought More Women into Office – and Why We Need More

Written by Rose Adams. At only 20 years since its first democratic transfer of power, Taiwan’s democracy is shockingly well developed. With a voter turnout of 74.9% in 2020’s national election and a female President, Taiwan has achieved democratic feats that even the United States has yet to realize with 200-plus years of democratic experience. One of the more impressive of these records is Taiwan’s current percentage of women in government: a whopping 38% of legislative seats, one of the highest of any democracy. Compare that 38% to Japan and Korea, two of Taiwan’s neighbours who have similar electoral systems. At 10% and 17 %, respectively, of Japan and Korea’s legislature seats filled by women, Taiwan’s success is miraculous.

Something, Nothing, or Everything? The Recall Vote of DPP’s Taoyuan City Councillor Wang Hao-Yu

Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. On 16 January, Taoyuan city councillor Wang Hao-yu of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was revoked by a whopping 84,582 ‘in-favour’ ballots. This was a staggering contrast to the 16,292 ballots received that won him his re-election merely two years prior. This election makes Wang the first city councillor from one of Taiwan’s six special municipalities to be recalled. More importantly, one can tentatively make a case that this is an important success for opposition parties such as the Kuomintang (KMT) and other pan-blue parties (e.g., People First Party) regaining political clout against the incumbent DPP government.

The Labor Market, Economic Insecurity, and Populism in Taiwan

Written by Wei-Ting Yen. In the past few years, two political outsiders in Taiwan have quickly accumulated popularity and became serious political contenders in elections. One is Ko Wen-Je, currently the mayor of Taipei. The other one is Han Kuo-Yu, the recently impeached mayor of Kaohsiung, the second-largest city in Taiwan. Their rise has prompted the island nation to widely debate whether populism has grown its roots in Taiwan because Ko and Han share similar populist traits.

Can Tsai Ing-wen Avoid the Second Term Curse?

Written by Kharis Templeman. If Tsai Ing-wen is superstitious, she should be worried: second term presidents in Taiwan appear to be cursed. Much like President Tsai, her predecessor Ma Ying-jeou started his second term on a confident and triumphant note. But over the next four years, he faced a relentless series of political crises, including an intraparty power struggle with Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, massive protests against the death of a military conscript and construction of a nuclear power plant, and of course the Sunflower Movement occupation of the legislature, which effectively halted cross-Strait rapprochement with Beijing.

Is Taiwan Becoming a One-party Dominant System?

Written by Yu-tzung Chang. Many people have begun to worry that as with the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan, the DPP will hold power for a long time in the future, and Taiwan will become a dominant one-party system. There are three reasons why I think this is unlikely. First, although the national identification cleavage has waned, new controversies are continually emerging, including same-sex marriage, health insurance premiums, and environmental protection, making Taiwan a typical pluralistic society. Politicians must find ways to bring together various “minority views” and assemble a “majority force” to win elections.

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