Major election victory for democratic opposition

Surpassing Kuomintang for first time in history

Washington, 29 November 1997

On Saturday, 29 November 1997, elections were held in Taiwan for 18 positions as County magistrates and 5 city mayor posts. The pro-independence democratic opposition won a major victory by winning 12 positions, doubling the seats they now hold.

Even more importantly, the opposition candidates won 44 percent of the vote, for the first time in historysurpassing the Kuomintang -- which dropped to 42 percent.

The results show a continuing erosion in the Kuomintang's traditional hold on power, and has significant implications for future national-level elections: The opposition DPP is coming within striking distance to win the Legislative Yuan in 1999 and even the Presidential elections in 2000.

Eighty candidates vied for positions as mayors and county chiefs in 23 cities and counties. In the last elections in 1993, the Kuomintang took 15 seats while the DPP got six. Politicians from other parties took the remaining two. In 1993, the Kuomintang still won 47 per cent of the vote. See separate tabel with facts and figures.

Important victories were:

  • Taipei County, the area surrounding Taipei City. Here the DPP's Magistrate You Ching was ending two succesful terms, and according to the rules cannot run for a third term. DPP Lawyer / legislator Su Chen-chang is now succeeding him. In a hard-fought campaign he won some 570,000 votes against his KMT opponent's 540,000. The important heavily-populated county is an important stronghold for the opposition.
  • Tainan City, where Taiwan Independence leader George Chang, former chairman of the World United Formosans for Independence, ran as the DPP-candidate against six other candidates, three from the KMT, two independent candidates (including former DPP-legislator Hsu Tien-tsai), and one from the right-wing New Party.
  • Tainan County, in southern Taiwan, where DPP-incumbent Dr. Mark Chen Tan-san was a sure winner.
  • Taoyuan County, just south of Taipei, where incumbent DPP-Magistrate and Women's Rights leader Lu Hsiu-lien won her re-election.
  • Ilan County, which has a long history of DPP-Magistrates, and has become a showcase for good and clean government. With his hard-won victory, the DPP's Mr. Liu Shou-chen is now continuing this tradition. The Kuomintang fielded a strong candidate to try to wrestle Ilan away from the DPP, but was not successful.
  • Taichung City, where the DPP candidate, Provincial Assembly member Ms. Chang Wen-ying, was a popular candidate with broad grassroots support.

In two places independent candidates leaning towards the opposition won: Mr. Peng Pai-hsien, a former DPP-legislator, who ran as an independent Nantou County, and Mrs. Chang Po-ya in Chiayi City.

Other opposition winners are:

  • Mr. Li Ching-yung in Keelung City
  • Mr. Su-chia-chuan in Pingtung County
  • Incumbent Yu Cheng-hsien in Kaohsiung County
  • Mr. Liao Yung-lai in Taichung County
  • Mr. Lin Kuang-hua in Hsinchu County
  • Mr. Tsai Jen-chien in Hsinchu City

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Back to: News and Current Events