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By Jeffrey Tsai, Alicia Lee and Charles Chuang

On January 16, Taiwan will democratically elect its next president. With three predecessors, the next president will have a legacy to continue. Who are these candidates? What makes each one so special? What are each candidate’s policies? Read below to find out more about the three candidates.

Eric Chu (朱立倫)

Photo Credit: Eric Chu's Facebook page

Photo Credit: Eric Chu’s Facebook page

  • Never one to finish This will be the third time Eric Chu has left a government post to run for another. In 2009, he resigned his position as Taoyuan County Magistrate after being given the position of Vice Premier under Premier Wu Den-yih. In 2010, after the formation of New Taipei City, Chu resigned from the Vice Premiership in order to run for New Taipei City mayor. Just a few months ago, he took leave on his mayoral duties as the new KMT candidate, replacing Hung Hsiu-chu, in the 2016 Presidential election.
  • “One Taiwan” Eric Chu’s campaign surrounds the idea of “One Taiwan,” as it is his vision to focus inward rather than outward as President Ma had done. This vision is a change to the public’s perception of the KMT as being China-centric.
  • Hoping to beat Tsai again This is not the first time that Chu will be facing off against Tsai. In 2010, in the fight for the newly formed New Taipei City mayorship, Chu faced off against Tsai and won with 52.61% of the votes. Facing off against a familiar opponent, Chu hopes to have a similar result.

Tsai Ing-Wen (蔡英文)

Photo Credit: Tsai Ing-wen's Facebook page

Photo Credit: Tsai Ing-wen’s Facebook page

  • First female presidential candidate—again This is not the first time Tsai has stepped up to the presidential election stage. She previously ran against President Ma Ying-jeou in 2012 and lost by six percent of the total votes. This will be her second time in the presidential election.
  • Publicly supports LGBT To promote the Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade, which took place on October 31, 2015, Tsai released a video that openly supports marriage equality. “Before love, everyone is equal. I am Tsai Ing-wen and I support marriage equality. Everyone has the freedom to chase love and happiness.”
  • Cross-Strait policy Regarding Taiwan’s international policies, she pledges that “protecting the ‘status quo,’ as the people of Taiwan define it, namely a democratic way of life, respect for human rights and the rule of law, will be the principal objective of [her] cross-strait agenda, one which reflects the expectations of the Taiwanese people.” However, the KMT has, on many occasions, criticized Tsai’s ambiguity about her policy.

James Soong (宋楚瑜)

Photo Credit: James Soong's Facebook page

Photo Credit: James Soong’s Facebook page

  • Never give up, never surrender At the age of 73, James Soong will be running for the ROC presidential position for the third time (2000, 2012, 2016). He also ran as Lien Chan’s running mate in the 2004 presidential election. Considering Soong’s ripe old age, this will likely be the last time that we will see Soong running in a presidential election.
  • Words of the elder “The keywords for Taiwan’s future is not power struggle, not blue or green, not winning or losing. They are cooperation, sharing, mutual aid, feeling for others and working together.” These are the words from Soong’s announcement of his decision to run in the upcoming election, truly focusing on cooperation as a crucial need for Taiwan.
  • Away from KMT we are united On November 18, Soong announced Hsu Hsin-ying as his running mate. Earlier this year, Hsu left the KMT, just as Soong had back in 1990, and formed her own party, the Mingkuotang. “I chose Hsu because I want to form a coalition government,” said Soong. “This is not for the interests of one party or one people, but to really put aside partisan struggles and find our common ideals again.”

The News Lens has been authorized to repost this article. The original full text is published on Outreach for Taiwan here: 2016 Presidential Election – Player Spotlight featuring Chu, Tsai and Soong

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: Joey Chung