Taiwan, China flag Taiwan, China: Economic and Political Overview

The political framework of Taiwan, China

Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President TSAI Ing-wen (since 20 May 2016)
Vice President LAI Ching-te (since 20 May 2020)
Premier: CHEN Chien-jen (since 31 January 2023)
Next Election Dates
Presidential: 2028
Legislative Yuan (parliamentary): 2028
Current Political Context
On January 13, 2024, Taiwan held legislative elections alongside the presidential election. The run-up to the election garnered global attention due to escalating tensions in the Taiwan Strait. It was the fifth time the mixed electoral system was used for legislative elections. Lai and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) clinched victory in the election, securing slightly over 40% of the vote. The Kuomintang (KMT) candidate Hou Yu-ih came in second with 33.5%, while Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) candidate Ko Wen-je garnered 26.5%.
Legislative elections also took place on the same day. The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lost its majority in the Legislative Yuan, which it had held since 2016, dropping 11 seats to retain 51. The Kuomintang (KMT) emerged as the largest single party with 52 seats, while the Taiwan People's Party (TPP) secured eight seats. The New Power Party lost its three seats as it failed to win a constituency seat or meet the 5% threshold for at-large representation. This election marked the first time, under the current electoral system introduced in 2008, that no party held an absolute majority in the Legislative Yuan. Additionally, it was the first time the largest party in the legislature neither won the most constituency votes nor the most party votes.
A key focus of these elections revolved around the country's relationship with mainland China. The Kuomintang (KMT) criticized Tsai Ing-wen's Democratic Progressive Party, alleging that their advocacy for Taiwan's independence has exacerbated tensions. Taiwan's incoming president-elect, Lai Ching-te, is poised to confront his most challenging responsibility upon assuming office in May, contending with China's vehement opposition, branding him as a divisive separatist figure. Despite Lai's repeated assertions during the campaign about maintaining the status quo with China, which asserts Taiwan as its territory, in his prior statements to parliament Lai described himself as a "practical worker for Taiwan independence".
Main Political Parties
Most parties maintain alliances with the two largest ruling parties: the KMT and DPP. Only three political parties obtained seats in the Legislative Yuan following the 2023 election:

- Democratic Progressive Party (DPP): centre, backs an independent Taiwan, has gained the most seats in the 2023 election
- Kuomintang (KMT): centre-right, favours Chinese nationalism
- Taiwan People's Party (TPP): centre-left

Other parties include:
- New Power Party: centre-left
- Green Party Taiwan: centre-left
- Taiwan Statebuilding Party: big-tent, independentist
- People First Party (PFP): liberal.
Executive Power
Taiwan is tirst country in Asia to have elected its president by universal direct suffrage. The President and Vice President are elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms (eligible for a second term). The Premier is appointed by the President; the Vice premiers are appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Premier.
Legislative Power
Unicameral Legislative Yuan of 113 seats including 73 district members elected by popular vote, 34 at-large members elected on the basis of proportion of island-wide votes received by participating political parties and 6 elected by popular vote among aboriginal populations; to serve four-year terms.
 Political parties must receive 5% of the vote to qualify for at-large seats.

Indicator of Freedom of the Press


The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:

Indicator of Political Freedom


The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Political Freedom:

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House


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Latest Update: July 2024