In 2015, Taipei’s relations with Washington moved forward in parallel with the improvements in cross-Strait relations initiated in 2008. Perhaps most notable was President Ma Ying-jeou’s summit meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping. Despite gains in external relations, however, the island was plagued by partisan gridlock, a stagnating economy, and political unrest. Most anticipated a Democratic Progressive Party victory over the ruling Kuomintang in the January 2016 presidential election. But few could predict what kind of fallout the election might generate.

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