Taiwan S 2Nd Democratic Presidential Election Essay

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Taiwan S 2Nd Democratic Presidential Election Essay, Research Paper Introduction: On Saturday, March 18, 2000, voters will go to 13,457 ballot booths in the free area of the Republic of China that is Taiwan. Four years after their democratic presidential election and with their island s future still uncertain, voters in Taiwan will be choosing a successor to current leader Lee Teng-hui. The five presidential candidates are independent James Soong, the Kuomintang s (KMT) Lien Chang, the New Party s Lee Ao, independent Hsu Hsin-liang and the Democratic Progressive Party s (DPP) Chen Shui-bian (Fig.1). But as Taiwan s people prepare to choose only their second popularly elected president and perhaps transfer Taiwan s leadership to a new party for the first time in 51 years. The

three leading candidates (Lien Chan, Chen Shui-bian, and James Soong) have been subdues, their rhetoric mild, and the tone tentative and cautious. The reason is China, 90 miles away across the Taiwan Strait (Fig 2). When the communists took control of China in 1949, the Nationalists under Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan, where they established the Republic of China as a government in exile and imposed martial law. China has considered Taiwan a renegade province ever since and has threatened to use force to bring about reunification. Four years ago, as Taiwan prepared for its first-ever direct presidential election, China rattled its tiny neighbor and brought U.S. warships to the scene by conducting missile tests in the Taiwan Strait. On February 21, 2000, less than a

month before Taiwan s election on March 18, the Chinese struck again. This time they announced that foot-dragging on reunification had been added tot he list of things international meddling or a declaration of independence are the others that would trigger an attack on Taiwan. There are other issues in this year s election including corruption and election, including corruption and campaign finance reform, but the issue known as cross-strait relation is far and away the most important. History of Political Parties in Taiwan: There has been a long history of election in Taiwan. But the democratic reforms in Taiwan have been gathering momentum over the last decade. Ever since steps were first taken to liberalize and expand the political process, each election has carried politics

on Taiwan closes to the goal of full democracy. The political parties of the Republic of China are the Kuomintang, Democratic Progressive Party, and the New Party. The Kuamintang (Nationalist Party) is the current ruling party of the Republic of China. Having to celebrate its one hundredth anniversary on November 24, 1994, the KMT has widespread appeal, boasting a membership of approximately 2.1 million. The party was founded as a revolutionary league dedicated to overthrowing the Chinese monarchy in 1912 when its leader Sun Yat-sen established the Republic of China after the collapse of the Qing (Ching) dynasty. Following Sun s death in 1925, Chiang Kai-shek assumed control of the KMT and in collaboration with the Communists consolidated the governments power throughout China.

In 1927, however, Chiang turned on the Communists, launched and killed thousands and crushed communists organized labor unions, thus beginning a long devastating civil war. In the late 1930s the KMT and the Communists reunited to fight the Japanese but only for the duration of World War II, and in 1945 they were again fighting each other for control of China. After suffering a series of defeats at the hands of the Communists, Chiang and his Nationalists forces fled to Taiwan in 1949. The Kuomintang has maintained a virtual monopoly of power on the island ever sine, holding nearly all legislative, executive, and judicial posts. Over the past decade, however, it has seen some of its power eroded by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party. The Democratic Progressive Party,