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News | Jan. 12, 2024

Taiwan’s January 2024 Elections: What You Need to Know

By Phillip C. Saunders The Diplomat

On January 13, Taiwan will hold presidential and legislative elections. Taiwan’s voters will cast one vote for president, one vote for a candidate running for the legislature in their home district, and one vote for their preferred party. The candidate with the most votes will win the presidency, even if they have a plurality rather than a majority. The 113-seat Legislative Yuan will be filled by winners of electoral districts (73 seats); indigenous constituencies (6 seats); and party list voting (34 seats).

Below, I introduce the three presidential candidates and review four factors likely to shape the outcome: 1) candidate positions on cross-strait relations; 2) party affiliation; 3) dissatisfaction with incumbents; and 4) whether the opposition is united or divided. The goal is to provide readers with a framework for interpreting the election results, which will be known the same day as the voting. 

Final polling data suggests Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate William Lai holds a 3-6 point lead and is likely to win with a plurality of votes against a divided opposition, though Kuomintang (KMT) candidate Hou Yu-ih could still eke out a victory. Even if Lai wins, it is not clear that the DPP will maintain a majority in the Legislative Yuan.

Read the rest on The Diplomat →

Dr. Phillip C. Saunders is Director of the Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs. He has been a Distinguished Research Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies since January 2004. The views expressed are his own and do not reflect those of the National Defense University or the Department of Defense.