Taiwan's Elections Results

Rejection of China's threats and intimidations

Below you find an overview of the results and a brief analysis of both the Presidential race, and the National Assembly elections held on 23 March 1996.

The Presidential Race

President Lee Teng-hui won with a commanding 54 percent of the vote. Professor Peng Ming-min of the opposition DPP-party came in with 21.13 percent. The two other candidates in the four-way race, Messrs. Lin Yang-kang and Chen Li-an, trailed far behind with 14.9 and 9.98 percent respectively.

The results show that the Taiwanese voters support a strong "Taiwan first" policy, and were not intimidated by China's bullying. Both President Lee and Professor Peng took a firm stance against China, and stated during the election campaign that they intended to further enhance Taiwan's international position by continuing to press for UN-membership and further diplomatic relations. Together these two won 75 percent of the vote.

China's threats also sharply reduced support for pro-unification candidates Lin and Chen, who advocated an accomodation with China. As Taiwan is being transformed into a fully-functioning democracy, it will become more difficult for such pro-unification advocates to succeed in electoral politics on the island. As the differences between a democratic Taiwan and a repressive China grow, the mainlanders who came to Taiwan with Chiang Kai-shek will increasingly have to identify with Taiwan, and the KMT will have to distance itself further and further away from traditional party orthodoxy of unification with China.

Why did Lee Teng-hui win ?

Mr. Lee won convincingly, and the DPP is doing some soul-searching: Dr. Peng received a much lower percentage of the vote than the roughly one-third share the party normally gets in elections, because many independence-supporters crossed over to vote for President Lee. Here are some explanations:

National Assembly elections

The elections for the 334-member National Assembly -- a body which has "Amendment of the Constitution" as its only function -- was held concurrently. It showed the following results:

Number of SeatsPercent of Vote Number of SeatsPercent of Vote
Kuomintang18349.68 %25471.2 %
DPP9929.85 %6623.9 %
Independent candidates6 6.80 %54.9 %
New Party4613.67 %
TOTAL334100 %325100 %

For comparison, we show the number of seats and percentage of the votes gained in the previous National Assembly elections in 1991. This shows the significant loss suffered by the Kuomintang since that time, from more than 70 percent to less than 50 percent. A large portion of that is due to the establishment of the New Party in 1993 -- which drew away many of the mainlanders, the KMT's traditional power base.

The table shows the headway made by the DPP, consolidating its position with approximately one third of the electorate as its power base. It also shows that the Kuomintang does no longer have the majority to unilaterally amend the Constitution, which requires the approval of at least a three-quarter majority in the Assembly.

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