In the January 14, 2012, elections, Taiwanese voters faced a choice between giving a second term to Ma Ying-jeou-who has pursued a policy of closer economic ties and broader rapprochement with the Mainland and who has drawn criticism for lackluster leadership, economic inequality and drawing to close to the PRC-and Tsai Ing-wen-whom Beijing and opponents in Taiwan portray as reckless proponent of independence and a threat to the economic gains achieved or promised by Ma’s policies. In voting for a legislature-for the first time held jointly with the presidential election, the Taiwanese electorate face a similar choice between retaining a supermajority for Ma’s KMT or giving Tsai’s DPP a larger share.
FPRI Senior Fellows Shelley Rigger, Vincent Wang, Terry Cooke and Jacques deLisle assess the elections’ meaning and implications: Why did the winners win and the losers lose? What does the outcome portend for cross-Strait relations during the next four years? What is likely to be the impact on U.S. policy toward, and relations with, Taipei and Beijing? What are the implications for the future of Taiwan’s democracy and for the significant economic, social and foreign policy decisions Taiwan’s government faces in the near term?