TAIWAN’S ELECTIONS REVEAL EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL CRACKS

Written by Jerome Teo

What happened? 

On January 11, Tsai Ing-wen won Taiwan’s 2020 presidential elections and become the first female leader to rule for a second term. The tallied results showed that she garnered 57% of the popular vote with a total of 8.2 million ballots. Her main opponent, Han Kuo-yu, from the pro-Beijing Kuomintang, only earned 39%.

The election outcome was a great hit to the mainland, which is committed to claiming Taiwan as part of its territory. Tsai has consistently branded herself as a defender of liberal democratic values and would like more autonomy for the island. This difference in views is due to both China and Taiwan having their own interpretation of the 1992 consensus and “One China principle”.

 

A generational divide made evident through the elections

The 16% gap between Tsai and Han has highlighted the growing desires of the Taiwanese youth in wanting increased democracy. Tsai’s lead is more prominent amongst the youth as compared to the elderly, in which Han had fared better in the polls earlier last year. More elderly considered themselves not only as Taiwanese but also as Chinese. However, contrary to popular beliefs, though polls suggest that the youths have stronger Taiwanese nationalism, they do not favour a provocative independence. The results are indicative of a worldwide trend where the youths are actually willing to step up and negotiate for their rights.

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