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Information on previous elections:

January 2008 Legislative Yuan elections

December 2004 Legislative Yuan elections

March 2004 Presidential elections

December 2001 Legislative Yuan elections

March 2000 Presidential elections

December 1998 Legislative Yuan and Mayoral elections

November 1997 County Magistrate elections

March 1996 Presidential Elections

December 1995 Legislative elections

December 1994 Mayoral elections

November 1993 County Magistrate elections

December 1992 Legislative Yuan Elections

December 1989 Legislative Yuan and County Magistrate Elections

Important events in Taiwan's history

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Taiwan's 2008 Presidential Elections

Ma Ying-jeou wins victory

Hsieh concedes defeat after hard-fought battle

Taiwan Central Election Commission: Official results of presidential election and UN referendums

Taiwan Communiqué no. 118: A full post-election analysis, and a retrospective on the UN referendum

On Saturday night, the outcome of the presidential elections was made public in Taipei: the KMT's Ma Ying-jeou won with 58.4% against 41.6% for the the DPP's Frank Hsieh. The voter turnout rate was approx. 76%. A total of 7.65 votes went to Ma, while Hsieh garnered 5.44 mln. votes.

During the last 10 days of the campaign, the gap between the two candidates had reduced considerably, but not enough to turn the tide.

The DPP referendum asking for support to apply for membership in the United Nations under the name Taiwan was voted on by some 6.2 mln. voters, and received overwhelming support with 94% of the valid votes in favor. However, since the referendum law in Taiwan sets an extremely high threshold for passage (50% of the registered voters) it formally did not pass. The KMT had urged its supporters to boycott the DPP referendum but had pushed its own referendum to "rejoin" the UN under the name "Republic of China" or "any other practical name". This referendum garnered less than 5 mln. yes votes.

Tibet, "counterclock" march, and "One China Common Market" major issues

The first development, which had an impact on the campaign, was China's brutal crackdown in Tibet following the demonstrations by Tibetan monks which started on March 10th. Both Taiwan's DPP government and Frank Hsieh's campaign were quick to react, saying that -- if Taiwan would move closer to China, as is being advocated by the KMT's Ma Ying-jeou -- "what happens in Tibet today could happen in Taiwan tomorrow."

The second development was the fact that on Sunday March 16th, the DPP was able to mobilize some 1.2 million people in an islandwide "counterclockwise" march, symbolizing the turn-the-tide campaign of the Hsieh headquarters. The large, enthusiastic crowds reinvigorated the campaign and served as a major boost, especially among the younger generation.

The third development was that on March 12th, four KMT legislators led by KMT Caucus whip Alex Fai barged into Hsieh's headquarters: they had taken it upon themselves to "investigate" whether Hsieh was paying rent. The intrusion was a stark reminder of the KMT's arrogance of power during the days of martial law and dearly cost Ma Ying-jeou -- who apologized profusely -- several percentage of votes.

A fourth issue which was making a significant difference in closing the gap was the "One China Common Market" concept, which had been touted by Mr. Ma Ying-jeou and his running mate Vincent Siew. For the past weeks, the DPP hit hard on this issue, and argued that open borders with China would lead to a flood of people and goods. On Wednesday, March 19th, a prominent former KMT official, Mr. Benjamin Lu (who served as head of Taiwan's Representative Office in DC in the 1990s, and subsequently headed Taiwan's office in Brussels) expressed his support for Hsieh's candidacy, and strongly criticized his former colleagues on this issue.

A final nudge in support of Hsieh was given by former President Lee Teng-hui, who declared on March 20th that he would vote for Hsieh. Lee said that in view of the KMT's control of the legislature, a vote for the KMT in the presidential elections would be "ill advised." He said that Taiwan's political system needs adequate checks and balances. Another prominent figure, Nobel Price winner Prof. Lee Yuan-tze, recently also endorsed the Hsieh candidacy.

Articles and commentaries

An excellent summary of the candidates and issues is given at:

Michael Turton: What's at stake in the Taiwan Elections

Below we link to articles and commentaries in the international press (latest one first)

John Tkacik: Taiwan's elections: Sea change in the Strait

Taipei Times editorial: Ma faces many challenges

Bruce Jacobs in the Taipei Times: Some suggestions for Ma Ying-jeou

Bruce Jacobs in The Australian: Taiwan's poll shows a true democracy

Washington Post: Taiwan voters elect new president

Taiwan News editorial: Taiwan's hopes shattered

Taiwan News: UN referendum bid fails to pass

Taiwan News editorial: On the importance of referendums

Taipei Times editorial: Out with the old, in with the older

Taipei Times: Decisive victory for Ma Ying-jeou

Canada National Post: Tibet crackdown hangs over Taiwanese election

New York Times: Taiwan Vote may herald closer ties with China

BBC: Taiwan votes in presidential poll

The London Times: Taiwan poll dominated by giant neighbour’s troubles

The Independent: Tibet crisis raises tensions over Taiwanese elections

Voice of America: Taiwan presidential race much tighter than expected

Washington Times: Taiwan's 'National identity' seen Chen Shui-bian's legacy

BBC News: Tibet focus for Taiwan election

Houston Chronicle editorial: Taiwan and Tibet's agony: a tale of two systems

Seattle Times: Ripples from Tibet unrest rock Taiwan campaign

Los Angeles Times: Tibet action could backfire in Taiwan

The Economist: Tibet and Taiwan: bad news for the KMT

AFP: Tibet fallout hits Taiwan election race

United States navy deploys two aircraft carriers close to Taiwan

Matthew Lien: Two rivers, two mayors and a very clear choice

Judy Linton: Open letter to supporters of Ma Ying-jeou

Former President Lee Teng-hui says he is to vote for Hsieh

NY Times: China's Tibet tensions sway Taiwan election

Reuters: Tibet bloodshed shakes up Taiwan election

Taiwan News editorial: Tibet's present, Taiwan's future

Taiwan News: Taiwanese march counter-clockwise for Hsieh "comeback"

The Economist: Where a Common Market is divisive

Int'l Herald Tribune: Taiwan kicks off final week of election campaign with Super Sunday

Frank Hsieh Chang-ting slams KMT as 'green card club' at rally

Taiwan News editorial: Ma Ying-jeou's switch to "self-determination" not credible

Frank Hsieh : opposes KMT's "One China common market" plan

Taiwan News editorial: Twin marches work to boost Hsieh's campaign

Hundreds of thousands in Taiwan join DPP's democracy march

Taiwan News editorial: The difference Frank Hsieh would make

The Economist: America blunders into Taiwan's election politics

BBC World News: Taiwan's DPP to confirm presidential candidate Frank Hsieh