Direct presidential elections with multiparty participation, held on a quadrennial basis, began in Taiwan in 1996. The latest, held on January 13, 2024, was the eighth in the series and yet another example of a smooth and orderly exercise of democratic choices, with a voter turnout of more than 70%. Taiwan’s democracy is relatively young, but its success has made the more than four-decade-long one-party rule of the Kuomintang (KMT) a faint memory for many. The 2024 presidential election proved to be a historic one, as the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) became the first party to clinch a third straight presidential victory. Lai Ching-te from the DPP won the presidential post, securing a little more than 40 per cent of the votes, with a comfortable margin of more than 6 per cent over the KMT candidate Hou Yu-ih. However, the DPP lost the majority in the simultaneously held Legislative Yuan (LY, parliament) elections, and the KMT emerged as the single largest party in the LY. This is the first time since 2004 that no party has a majority in the LY. Thus, the DPP won the presidential election, but the KMT surged in the parliamentary elections, which is already commanding the local bodies across Taiwan. How should one understand Taiwan’s present political landscape in light of these differing mandates given by the Taiwanese voters? What were the issues for the voters in these elections? How far has the DPP succeeded in making its position on cross-Strait relations a mainstream position? The panellists will address these questions as they explore the challenges for the new dispensation in domestic governance, cross-strait relations, security in the Taiwan Straits, and Taiwan’s international space, and offer their views on the best possible policy choices.
About the Speakers
Arthur Ding is a Professor Emeritus at Taiwan-based National Chengchi University (NCCU), and he concurrently teaches part-time at the NCCU and Taiwan's National Defense University. Arthur Ding's research covers Chinese defense and military issues as well as US-China relations.
Gunjan Singh is an Assistant Professor at the OP Jindal Global University. She was a Research Fellow at the Indian Council of World Affairs till January 2020. Before that, she was a Research Associate at the Institute of Chinese Studies (ICS) and a Research Assistant at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA). She was awarded a PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University in November 2018. Her research interests are in the fields of Chinese Foreign Policy, China-South Asia Relations, Domestic Politics in China, Chinese Media, Mainland-Taiwan Relations and Space Security. She has written extensively on these subjects in academic and media publications. She is the co-editor of Space Security and Global Cooperation. She has contributed to journals like the Journal for Asian Security and International Affairs, India Quarterly, Strategic Analysis, International Affairs Review, Harvard Asia Quarterly, and World Affairs: A Journal of International Issues.
Manoj Kumar Panigrahi is currently an Assistant Professor and co-director of the Centre for Northeast Asia Studies at the Jindal School of International Affairs, O.P. Jindal Global University. He is also a Non-Residential Research Fellow at Taiwan NextGen Foundation, Taipei. He teaches courses on Taiwanese History and Politics, Cross-strait relations between Taiwan and China, East Asian Politics, and Peace-making in Ethnic Conflicts. He regularly contributes articles to the Taipei Times, Taiwan Insight by the University of Nottingham, Philippines Daily Inquirer, Observer Research Foundation, Air University, DSA, and other platforms. He was adjudged the Best Scholarship Recipient Student from Taiwan's Ministry of Education Scholarship (2016-2020). His recent publications include a co-edited book, Drifts and Dynamics: Russia’s Ukraine War and Northeast Asia (2022), and a monograph, ‘Taiwan-China Conundrum: What Can be India’s Policy Trajectories?’ (2023).
About the Chair
Prashant Kumar Singh is a Research Fellow and Centre Coordinator of the East Asia Centre at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA). He obtained his MPhil and PhD at the Centre for East Asian Studies (CEAS), School of International Studies (SIS) at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. His recent publications include Xi Jinping’s ‘Chinese Dream’: China’s Renewed Foreign and Security Policy and Transforming India-Taiwan Relations: New Perspectives.
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