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.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. The Hong Kong protests also constituted a wake-up call for the people in Taiwan along the lines of “Today’s Hong Kong, Tomorrow’s Taiwan.” The erosion of freedoms in Hong Kong today is a clear example of what could happen in Taiwan tomorrow if Chinese pressure, intimidation and influence operations are allowed to run their course.
Written by Joel Atkinson. With so much going on, it is a daunting task to read the tea leaves on Taiwan’s evolving role in the world. Still, there are reasons to be guardedly optimistic about Taiwan and its future. Somewhat counter-intuitively, the sources of this optimism are not friends of Taiwan’s hard-won liberal democracy—Donald Trump and Xi Jinping.
Written by Tanguy Lepesant. Studies show that Taiwanese youths believe their quality of life as adults will be worse than their parents’ and that they are victims of “generational injustice”. They believe they have been deprived of their “right to a good quality of life” by their elders whom benefited from Taiwan’s economic miracle and accumulated wealth at the expense of environmental protection.
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.
Written by Mark Wenyi Lai. Ko has seized swing voters from the KMT’s pocket and pushed KMT to the far-right. The stronger this far-right narrative becomes, the greater the swing to pan-green votes. Thus, the weaker the KMT becomes, the more likely that Ko will join the race. The more Ko believes he will win, the more likely that pan-green voters will side with Tsai.
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…
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.
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.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. In mid-August 2018, Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen undertook her fifth journey abroad since taking office. The nine-day state visit
Written by Mark Lai. Last month, President Tsai Ing-wen visited Paraguay and Belize, two of the handful countries that still have formal diplomatic relations with
Written by Joseph Bosco. When two U.S. Navy destroyers passed through the international waters of the Taiwan Strait in early July, the head of China’s