2020 Presidential & Legislative Election Preview

15 October, 2019

At the event co-hosted with ICRT, guest panellists discussed the outlook for the forthcoming presidential and legislative elections on January 2020.While the candidate for the Democratic  Progressive party (DPP) and incumbent president Tsai lng-wen currently has a comfortable lead in most opinion polls over rival  Kuomintang(KMT) candidate Han Kuo-yu, there are a number of factors that need to be considered. 

Lo Chih-Cheng noted that voter turnout has been on a downward trend in recent elections and will be a factor in 2020. Turnout could be affected by the timing of the election just two weeks before the Chinese lunar new year while the fact that no referendums will be held this time may fail to mobilize voters who turned out in force to vote in the  election because of the referendums.

It is also not clear if former Vice President Annette Lu or People First Party leader James Song will be running. If either or both run, it is an open question as to how many votes they will divert from the main candidates.

However, Lo also made the point that past experience has shown that incumbents tend to win re-election in Taiwan. Both of Taiwan's most recent former presidents, Chen Shui-bien and Ma Ying-jeou won second terms Alexander Huang and Ross Feingold acknowledged the advantage of incumbency for Tsai.


However Huang expressed the view that things have deteriorated for Taiwan over the past four years given geopolitical and global economic challenges and the lack of formal communications between Taiwan and china and that voters will base their decision on this. He added that whoever wins the presidential election will have a though job balancing voter's demands as well as improving relations with china.


Ross Feingold argued that the plurality of voters are more likely to view's Tsai's performance as not too bad and therefore give her a second term.Joanna Lei agreed with Huang that conditions had deteriorated under the Tsai administration. She was especially critical of the expansion of the LY's power and the establishment of new administrative bodies, such as the lll-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee, which has investigated a number of organisations and frozen or confiscated their assets or taken steps to do so.

Lo countered that the economic and foreign relations performance under the DPP has been fairly good, helped by the success of Tsai's so -called southbound policy, which has helped to reduce dependence on china.Turning to the legislative yuan(LY)  election, all panellists agreed that it will be a close race between the main parties ( a view which is backed up by recent polling  data ) Huanga made the point that voters' choice is about more than party politics and policies. The appeal of the individual candidate is also a major factor


It is also not yet clear if third party legislative candidates from the fledgling Taiwanese people's party, established by Taipei mayor Ko wen-jo or the new power party will make any head-way against the mainstream parties. Regardless, if the DPP wins the presidency and loses its majority in the LY, it will be difficult to push through its policy agenda.

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