The January 2016 presidential and legislative elections in Taiwan produced a dramatic and unprecedented victory for the Democratic Progressive Party over its long-time rival, the Kuomintang. The party had never had a parliamentary majority before 2016. The elections indicated the potential for fundamental change in Taiwan’s party system. This is what political scientists call a critical realigning election. The problem with identifying these elections, such as the 1896 and 1932 ones in the United States, is that we can only be sure of such an interpretation after a significant amount of time has passed. Still, some of the changes in Taiwan are fundamental enough to make such an evaluation worthwhile. We summarize realigning elections; discuss the factors that may lead to a change in the partisan balance; and describe the growing role of protest parties and social movements in Taiwan politics.
Was 2016 a Realigning Election in Taiwan?
Alexander C. Tan (corresponding author) is Professor and Head of the Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, and University Chair Professor, Department of Political Science and Taiwan Institute of Governance and Communications Research, National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan.
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Cal Clark, Alexander C. Tan, Karl Ho; Was 2016 a Realigning Election in Taiwan?. Asian Survey 3 December 2020; 60 (6): 1006–1028. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/as.2020.60.6.1006
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