Category Archives: Taiwan


Taiwan – Legislative Yuan by elections

In Taiwan three by elections to the Legislative Yuan were held on 9 January. Taiwan Today reports that two of three by elections “were due to the annulment of victories by KMT candidates in the January 2008 Legislative Yuan election for vote buying”. The third was caused by the December 2009 local elections.

All three seats had been held by the ruling KMT party. However, this time the opposition Democratic Progressive Party won all three contests. These setbacks for the KMT follow on from the poor results of the recent local elections.

The KMT now has 71 seats in the Legislative Yuan, the DPP has 33 seats, two other parties have 4 seats and there are 5 independents.

Taiwan – Local elections

In Taiwan elections were held on Saturday for County Magistrates, County Councillors and Township Governors. The full results are available in English on the Central Electoral Commission website. The KMT party currently holds the presidency and a legislative majority, having won the presidency from the DPP last year. However, President Ma’s opinion poll ratings have been low.

In the County Magistrates election, there was the following result:

KMT – 47.9%
DPP – 45.3%
Independents/non-affiliated – 6.4%

These are the combined figures. In fact, the County Magistrates election comprises the direct election of 17 County Magistrates, 12 of which were won by the KMT, 4 by the DPP and one by an Independent. This meant that the KMT lost two seats, one to the DPP (even though it was an historic DPP seat that had been lost in 2005) and one to an independent candidate who had been expelled from the KMT over corruption allegations.

In the election for County Councillors, the following result obtained:

KMT – 43.9% (289 seats)
DPP – 24.4% (128 seats)
Independents/non-affiliated – 30.8% (170 seats)
Other parties – 5 seats

The key figure note as regards County Councillor elections is that number of DPP seats increased from 107 in 2005.

Finally, in the election for Township Governors, there was the following result:

KMT – 48.8% (121 seats)
DPP – 20.0% (34 seats)
Independents/non-affiliated – 30.9% (56 seats)

Overall, the results were seen as a poor performance by the KMT. President Ma is quoted by Taiwan News as saying: “No matter whether looking at the results from the number of seats or the share of the vote, the outcome of the election was not ideal”.

Taiwan – New PM

Apologies to those in Taiwan. I missed the change of prime minister in September. If anyone spots that I have missed an election or a change of government, then please just include a comment or drop me an e-mail.

Anyway, the change came shortly after my previous post where I reported President Ma’s takeover of the ruling KMT party and the drop in his approval ratings.

On 10 September the previous PM, Liu Chao-shiuan, was replaced by Wu Den-yih. Both are from the KMT which holds a large majority in the Legislative Yuan.

PM Wu is vice chairman and secretary-general of the KMT and a former mayor of Kaohsiung City. There are details of the new government here.

Taiwan – President elected party leader, but approval ratings fall

President Ma Ying-Jeou of Taiwan was elected as the chairman of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party on 26 July. Ma had already served as party leader from 2005-2007, but this was before his election and during the period when the KMT was in opposition.

According to Taiwan News, Ma’s decision to stand and the party’s decision to accept him – there was only one candidate for the position – was deliberately designed to reinforce the president’s position and to make it easier for him to pass the legislation he wishes. Another potential reason is that it facilitates the possibility of a meeting between himself and the Chinese President Hu Jintao, who is also the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China. In other words, they could meet as party leaders rather than as heads of state. President Ma has tried to establish closer links between Taiwan (Republic of China) and China (People’s Republic of China).

President Ma was elected in March last year, winning 58% of the vote. However, his TVBS opinion poll approval ratings fell very quickly. See below. Source here.

In recent months his approval ratings had been improving. However, the devastating effect of the recent typhoon has led to another fall in his popularity. Taiwan News reports that the most recent TVBS poll puts his approval rating at only 16%.

Taiwan – Inauguration of President Ma

Ma Ying-Jeou, who was elected in March, was inaugurated yesterday as president of Taiwan.

President Ma’s inaugural address is available on the Taiwan government website. Also, in what is a first for this blog, to celebrate the 1000th visitor to the site and in eager anticipation of my visit there later this year, here is a link to a clip from the swearing-in ceremony that has been posted on You Tube.

President Ma chose Liu Chao-Shiuan as his prime minister in April – the president’s Kuomintang (KMT) party having won a majority at the January legislative election. Prime Minister Liu also took office yesterday. Prime Minister Liu was formally Vice Premier under a previous KMT government.

Taiwan has a president-parliamentary form of semi-presidentialism. There is a fine article on semi-presidentialism in Taiwan from Professor Wu Yu-Shan in the recent volume of Semi-presidentialism Outside Europe that I edited with Sophia Moestrup. In addition, a 2005 article by Professor Wu comparing the appointment of prime ministers in France, Russia and Taiwan is freely available from the website of the Taiwan Journal of Democracy and provides some valuable comparative insights.

Election results – Taiwan (presidential)

The Taipei Times has announced the result of the presidential election held on 23 March.

Turnout: 76.33 per cent

Ma Ying-Jeou (KMT): 58.45%
Frank Hsieh (DPP): 41.55%

This result avoids any period of cohabitation, given the KMT’s landslide victory in January’s legislative election.

Election results – Taiwan (legislative)

I realised that I forgot to post the results of the recent parliamentary elections in Taiwan.

The election was held on 12 January. The incumbent Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lost heavily to the Kuomintang (KMT).

This election was the first to be held under the reformed electoral system, which is a mixture of about one-third proportional representation with a 5% threshold and two-thirds single-member plurality seats. It was also the first under the reformed legislature, which, notably, reduced the number of seats from 225 to 113. These changes make it quite difficult to compare the 2008 results with the previous election result.

In the proportional contest, which is the best indicator of relative party popularity, the KMT won 51.2% and the DPP won 36.9%. The New Party won 4%, and the Taiwan Solidarity Union won 3.5%.

In terms of seats, combining the proportional and single-member results, the KMT ended with 71 seats, while the DPP won 27 seats.

The situation is now very interesting as the DPP still holds the presidency. The presidential election will be held on 22 March. The KMT’s candidate, Ma Ying-jeou, looks set to win and is polling at about 50%. This would mean that cohabitation would be avoided. However, there is some evidence that support for the DPP’s candidate, Frank Hsieh, may be improving slightly, but he would need the support of most of the large percentage of currently undecided voters to stand a chance of winning.