‘Liberal civic nationalism’ triumphs in Taiwan poll


“Our democratic system, national identity and international space must be respected,” Tsai Ing-wen [left] said on Jan. 16 in her first remarks as president-elect in Taiwan. Tsai and her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) took power in this month’s Taiwanese elections, with Tsai winning 56 percent of the vote and the DPP winning 60 percent of seats, notes Roselyn Hsueh, assistant professor of political science at Temple University and the author of “China’s Regulatory State: A New Strategy for Globalization.”

That’s the first time the Kuomintang (KMT) has lost all branches of government since the island became a democracy in the mid-1990s; until now, it had either held the presidency or the legislature’s majority coalition, she writes for The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage:

Voters rejected the KMT in large part because of President Ma Ying-jeou’s efforts to build closer relations with China, which, he promised, would boost the Taiwanese economy. But Beijing’s policies and practices have alienated the Taiwanese…….

Tsai’s election, and that of her party, represent the triumph of liberal civic nationalism in Taiwan. My research on globalization and the political economy of identity finds a desire among Taiwanese for public policies and social institutions that guarantee political transparency and address social and economic stratification……Leading into the elections, diverse groups — some of them formed because they were inspired by the Sunflower Movement — passionately campaigned based on the common ground of allegiance to democratic institutions, the desire to improve their livelihood and a hope for a future separate from China’s.


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