Taiwan’s 2020 Elections: Too Many Unknowns and Incalculables

Written by John F. Copper. In July, Taiwan’s two main political parties, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the opposition Nationalist Party (Kuomintang or KMT), held primaries to select their presidential candidates for the coming election. President Tsai Ing-wen won for the DPP. Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu will represent the KMT. At that juncture, pundits opined that January 11, 2020 would be a seminal event or “election of all times”. They said that the prevailing issue and one that cleaves Taiwan’s soul in half is independence versus unification. Clearly the two candidates mirrored the two sides of this seeming irreconcilable difference.

What is the Role of New Residents in Taiwan’s Next Elections?

Written by Lara Momesso.
As Taiwan’s presidential and legislative elections approach, major and minor parties are busy defining their agendas, electoral campaign strategies, and potential interest groups. New immigrants have emerged as an increasingly important constituency in Taiwanese political debate In January 2016, new immigrants with Taiwanese citizenship comprised 1.33% of the total electorate. Although this does not yet constitute a major constituency, the portion is predicted to increase next year.

Is Taiwan’s Party System Headed for a Crackup?

Written by Kharis Templeman. These are all signs of what political scientists call party system institutionalisation (PSI)—the degree to which interactions among significant political parties, including the issues they advocate for, their membership and bases of support, and the shares of the vote each wins, are stable across multiple election cycles. Is PSI good for democracy? In general: yes.

Trouble in the Blue Camp

Written by J. Michael Cole. More and more, there are signs that the mainstream KMT is trying to reassert control over its destiny. And that core KMT, as history has shown, can be ruthless. Within a matter of months, Han the savior has turned into a liability, and a bit of an embarrassment, for the party. What happens in the next weeks and months is anyone’s guess, but it is easy to conclude that Han and his supporters might not like what the blue camp has in store for them. 

Is Han Kuo-yu a Populist?

Written by Gunter Schubert. Unlike many populist leaders, Han’s public speeches have not been xenophobic, nor has he polemicised against LGBTQ rights (though he has promised to undo recent legislation allowing same-sex marriage should he be elected president). Moreover, his support for the ‘1992 consensus’ sounds more opportunistic than driven by pan-Chinese nationalism and his commitment to cross-Strait economic exchange does not prove that he supports ‘unification’ or wants to cosy up to the Chinese Communist Party.

Taiwan’s 2020 Election: Is the DPP’s Primary Fair?

Written by John F. Copper. Could it be that President Tsai’s favourable image improved so dramatically from January to June? It is hard to believe that it did.

Did the DPP leadership manipulate the polls to favor President Tsai? That seems so. Taiwan had never experienced a standing president being challenged in a primary election for a party’s nomination. It would have been traumatic for the party if William Lai had been chosen. Also, his nomination would have imperiled relations with China and the United States.

Why Is Tsai Ing-wen’s Popularity Rising?

Written by Dongtao Qi. Since the DPP was trounced by the KMT in the November 2018 nine-in-one local elections, most public opinion polls found that compared to other possible presidential candidates, popular support for president Tsai in the lead up to the 2020 presidential election was consistently the lowest. However, about six months before the 2020 presidential election, many polls showed a surprising turn…

From A Two-Party System To Polarized Pluralism In Taiwan

Written by Yu-tzung Chang. (…) Taiwanese parties have been “captured” and “marginalised”, gradually losing their vital functions such as political recruitment and aggregation of interests. Parties have become little more than support acts for politicians. The result will be increasingly fluid and polarised politics that has hidden dangers for Taiwan’s democracy.

Unconventional Candidates and Cross-Strait Relations in Taiwan’s 2020 Presidential Campaigns

Written by Jacques deLisle. Whoever holds the presidency in Taiwan after 20 May 2020 will need to navigate especially challenging relations with Washington and Beijing. Under Xi, Beijing has taken a tougher line, squeezing Taiwan’s international space, poaching its diplomatic partners, and chilling cross-Strait ties. It is not clear that China’s more demanding and assertive posture stems solely from dissatisfaction with Tsai, whose cross-Strait policy has emphasised stability and continuity.

Unexpected Scenarios and Unpredictable Outcome? A discussion of Taiwan’s 2020 Presidential Election

Written by Mei-chuan Wei.
Given the unexpected scenarios in the KMT and DPP primary elections and the aforementioned complex factors that have always impacted upon Taiwan’s politics, the outcome of Taiwan’s 2020 presidential election is uncertain. Another uncertain element is Taipei City Mayor and former doctor at the prestigious National Taiwan University Hospital, Ko Wen-je.

Cross-Strait Relations, Diplomacy Key Variables Behind Support For Han Kuo-Yu: Survey

Written by Timothy Rich. Han Kuo-yu surprised many observers with his victory in the Kaohsiung mayoral race in November, the clearest example last year of a Kuomintang (KMT) candidate faring above expectations in a south historically dominated by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). This “Han wave” now appears to have propelled Han as a viable presidential candidate for the January 2020 elections…

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