Written by Jonathan Leung. Less than a week after the 2022 local elections, the mid-terms showed a completely different result than the national election two years ago. With a landslide victory of 8.17 million votes in the 2020 presidential election, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has only received 4.74 million ballots for the mayoral and magistracy elections. Under Tsai Ing-wen’s leadership, the party has received the highest and lowest votes in history in national and local elections.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. The main indicator of how well the parties did, was the number of city mayor and county magistrate positions they gained or lost: the ruling DPP went down from their current number of seven positions to five, while the opposition KMT went down from their current number of 14 to 13, with two of the remaining seats going to independents, and one, Hsinchu City, to the Taiwan People’s Party of Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je. In one location, Chiayi City, the election had to be postponed until December 18 because of the death of a mayoral candidate.
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 Ming-Shih, Shen. The outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war is a reality check for Taiwan. Because Ukraine’s defensive posture is just like Taiwan’s, it also needs to mobilise reserve soldiers on the battlefield to defend its homeland. The professional performance of Ukraine reserve soldiers has stimulated Taiwan to start the reform of the defence mobilisation system. If it is necessary to improve combat power by extending the time of military service, Taiwan should act boldly without worrying too much about political factors.
Written by Dafydd Fell. It could be argued that the changing nature of the DPP contributed to it following through on key civil society demands, such as enhancing LGBT rights and moving towards a nuclear-free homeland. While the original goal for a new alternative party has not been fully realised, perhaps the greatest party system legacy of the Sunflower Movement lies in the changing nature of the DPP.
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.