Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. On 6 June 2020, Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu suffered a devastating defeat in the recall election with almost 940,000 ballots agreeing to remove him from office after just 18 months since his inauguration. What are the underlying reasons for Han’s abrupt rise and fall over two years? What are the political implications of Han’s recall for not only the Kuomintang (KMT) but also the development of Taiwan’s democracy?
Written by Fumiko Sasaki. The Trump administration has intensified its anti-China campaign. Consequently, rhetoric has been strongly pro-Taiwan. Due to the increased negative sentiment toward China in the U.S., the presidential candidate from each party will need to take a tough stance toward China to win the election. Regardless of the election outcome, President Tsai Ing-Wen should not anticipate such trends to continue and must be wise in aligning with allies inside the U.S.
Written by Milo Hsieh. In January, Taiwan saw the re-election of its DPP President Tsai Ing-wen. The January election, which saw the DPP once more taking a firm majority in the Legislative Yuan, was a victory for the DPP that also gave rise to smaller parties. The KMT, taking lessons from its defeat, went on to reposition its policy on cross-strait issues with the election of a new party chairman.
Written by John F. Copper. Nearing the half-year point in her second term as president it is fitting to ask: how is President Tsai faring? It is a good time for a report card. On January 11, President Tsai won a resounding re-election victory over her KMT opponent Han Kuo-yu, the Mayor of Kaohsiung. Her party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), also secured a majority in the concurrent legislative vote, though it was not as impressive as Tsai’s win
Written by Frédéric Krumbein. As the only Chinese democracy that has ever existed, Taiwan shows that Chinese culture, authentic democracy and respect for human rights can coexist. It is thus pertinent to ask – to what extent is Taiwan a bastion of democracy and human rights? How has Taiwan gone about promoting these values in the region, and how will it continue to do so moving forward?
Written by Sam Robbins. Taiwanese politics has been digital as long as it has been democratic. Taiwan’s first direct presidential election in 1996 was hotly debated on popular BBS systems of the time. More recent elections have been fought on blogs, PTT, facebook and elsewhere. Taiwanese politicians have always been looking for new methods to connect with voters and make themselves visible in an ever-changing digital landscape.
Written by Isabelle Cheng. For most Taiwan election observers, mid-November 2019 was full of high drama and factional struggle as the Kuomintang (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) adjusted their nominations of non-constituency legislators (bufenqu daibiao, 不分區代表) on party representative lists. It was probably less likely, though, that observer attention would be drawn to how immigrant candidates featured on the list. However, for immigrant leaders, such as the one who rang me at 2:20am on Monday 18 November 2019, the two parties’ nominations caused a strong sense of disillusionment.
Written by Jeremy Huai-Che Chiang. Tsai and the DPP currently see China as a destabiliser not only in cross-Strait relations, but also the global order. Tsai, however, has still stuck to her policy of maintaining the status quo. Besides diversifying the country’s economic networks through the New Southbound Policy, Tsai’s administration has also built ties with like-minded democracies such as the US, EU and its member states, Japan and Australia. These efforts help build international support for Taiwan’s continued autonomy.
Written by Gray Sergeant. A Green Party Taiwan (GPT) poll early this month showed President Tsai commanding a substantial lead over her KMT rival, Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu, in a head-to-head race. Although the eighteen point advantage to Tsai and the DPP is strikingly large, it does fit in with general polling trends over the past few months showing Mayor Han’s slumping popularity. This same survey also asked respondents how they would vote in the island-wide party ballot for the country’s Legislative Yuan. Here the DPP lead crumbled with only 25% voting for the governing party, while 35% for the KMT.
Written by Min-Hua Chiang. Businesses and entertainers have been forced to adhere to the “One-China Policy”, and from 1st August 2019 Chinese nationals from 47 cities in China were prohibited to visit Taiwan on an individual basis. China’s new tourism restraint is another attempt to intimidate Taiwan.
Taiwanese officials estimated a reduction of NT$18,000 million (US$574 million) in tourism revenue and a fall of 0.1% GDP following China’s new tourism policy. Looking at the statistics in detail, the impact on Taiwan’s economy is limited.
Written by J. Michael Cole. With Taiwan’s election campaign shifting into high gear, an escalating campaign of intimidation by one camp and a media consortium that backs its candidate threatens to seriously undermine the ability of journalists and political commentators, both local and foreign, to do their work. By doing so, that camp is hoping to impose its discourse on the process and to limit, if not silence outright, any criticism of its candidate and the proxies that are aligned with it.
Written by Joanna Zylinska. Chen Shui-bian’s presidency has been said to be a period of polarization, typified by aggressive nation-building policies and worsening cross-Strait relations. He became president in May 2000 and at first enjoyed widespread support.