This Taiwan Studies Workshop panel discussed the Election System in Taiwan ahead of the 2024 election.

Taiwan Studies Workshop – Elections 2024, Pt. 2

On December 18th, the Fairbank Center hosted the second of the Taiwan Studies Workshop’s three-part series on the upcoming Taiwan elections. During his introduction for the talk, moderator Steven M. Goldstein, Director of the Center’s Taiwan Studies Workshop, underscores the significant impact of Taiwan’s domestic politics on American policy, and vice versa: “We shaped Taiwan’s domestic politics, but I think it’s often forgotten that domestic politics in Taiwan shaped the United States.” Sarah Newland, Assistant Professor of Government at Smith College, gives a primer on the dynamics of the current election in Taiwan, from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)—which emphasizes policy continuity with administration of President Tsai Ing-wen—to the KMT’s appeal, to supporters of more conciliatory policies regarding Taiwan’s relationship with mainland China, and the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), which was initially aligned with the more pro-independence DPP but gradually shifted towards a more moderate stance and now offers a populist alternative.

Chia-hung Tsai, Professor of the Graduate Institute of East Asian Studies at National Chengchi University in Taipei, sheds light on Taiwan’s electoral system, the lack of absentee voting, and the influence of Taiwanese citizens working in China. He notes that despite Party differences, all three candidates are taking moderate stances on mainland China relations and domestic issues like social welfare, housing, and energy. Tsai discusses the framing of campaign strategies around themes like war and democracy versus peace and authoritarianism and highlights the mixed public perceptions of the government’s performance and the state of the economy. Tsai further comments on the impact of China, U.S. relations, and domestic issues on the election; the potential realignment of party loyalties, especially among young voters; and the challenges of accurately assessing public opinion through polls.

Watch the full talk via the Vimeo embedded video below or on YouTube.