Eight Firsts in the 2016 Taiwan Elections

Eight Firsts in the 2016 Taiwan Elections
Photo Credit: 蔡英文
What you need to know

The 2016 Taiwan presidential and legislative elections have set a number of records. What's worth noting is the turnout rate of this election set a record low at 70% and it is also the first time a presidential candidate was replaced.

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The 2016 Taiwan presidential and legislative elections have set a number of records. In addition to the emergence of the first female president, this is also the first time the DPP has taken majority in the Legislative Yuan. What’s worth noting is the turnout rate of this election set a record low at 70% and it is also the first time a presidential candidate was replaced. Here are eight firsts seen in the 2016 Taiwan elections.

1. Tsai Ing-wen becomes Taiwan’s first female president

CNA reports, up to January 16, all ROC presidents have been male. The 10th and 11th Vice President Annette Lu was female, but was still elected for a deputy position. After losing in the 2012 presidential election, Tsai Ing-wen has been elected as the first female president of Taiwan, and joins South Korean President Park Geun-hye as one of the few women leaders in the world today.

2. DPP taking majority of the Legislative Yuan for the first time

When the DPP took the presidential office for the first time in 2000, the parliament was still dominated by the KMT. This didn’t change when Chen Shui-bian and Annette Lu were re-elected in 2004. Therefore the merge of the presidential and legislative elections this time is not only the third party alternation in the history of the ROC constitution, but also the first time DPP has won the presidential office and taken more than half the legislative seats.

3. Turnout rate falling below 70%

On.cc reports, voters have been particularly inactive in the elections this time. Many half-hearted KMT supporters didn’t vote or they cast invalid ballots. Though KMT called upon the “silent voices" to display their power, but the situation was still beyond its reach. The party only pushed out a 66.27% turnout rate, making it the lowest since the 1996 presidential election.

4. Three teams of presidential candidates all from different parties

Not only have all three teams of presidential candidates in the 2016 elections been pairs of male and female, each team also had candidates from different parties. This is another first in Taiwan’s history of presidential elections.

5. Most times a candidate has ran for president

SET reports, following the 2000 and 2012 presidential elections, this is the third time James Soong of the People First Party (PFP) has run for the presidency. If including his running for vice president in 2004, then this is Soong’s fourth campaign in the presidential elections.

6. First time a presidential candidate is replaced

On June 17, 2015, the KMT Central Standing Committee passed the nomination of Vice President of the Legislative Yuan, Hung Shiu-chu, as presidential candidate in the 2016 elections. However, the committee held an emergency meeting four months later and replaced Hung with then KMT Chairperson Eric Chu. This is the first time in Taiwan’s presidential election history a candidate has been replaced.

7. First rock star to enter the Legislative Yuan

Freddy Lim of the New Power Party (NPP) said in his victory speech, “I, Freddy Lim is about to enter the Legislative Yuan. I’m the first rock star in Asia to be in the parliament. I will enter the Legislative Yuan with my long hair and tattoos." Lim’s victory broke the Blue-Green border and he will be taking the will of 300 thousand people into the Legislative Yuan for the next four years.

8. First new resident legislator Lin Li-chan

Apple Daily reports, Taiwan has also witnessed the election of its first new resident legislator, Cambodian-Taiwanese Lin Li-chan. Lin has already listed her initial focus to be helping new residents integrate into the society as real Taiwanese.

Translated by Olivia Yang

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