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Yilan, Taiwan
I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Aftermath of theTaiwanese Elections

Congratulations to Taiwan and the democratic system! They are the only Chinese speaking democracy in the world and yet not formally recognized as a sovereign country (that subject deserves its own post).  The majority of my friends are ecstatic about Saturday's election results, while some coworkers are clearly less than enthused.

One would have to be living in a cave not to hear about the DPP's "landslide" victory (if 56.6% can be considered a landslide) and the election of Taiwan's first female president.  The new parliament is not only a DPP majority in power and with many new inexperienced legislators, but also has 5 legislators from the newly formed Sunflower Movement's New Power Party (時代力量).

Overall the recent election creates more questions than answers:

Q1. How did Beijing respond? How will they respond?

China called the recent election a hallucination and the DPP's goal of kick-starting the Taiwanese economy (without them) a lost cause.  Pro China supporters from the Mainland were allowed to flood the new president's Facebook page. And it comes as no surprise that the Chinese military carried out landing drills and live fire  right across the nearest Taiwanese island of Kinmen. (I predicted they would do this which really is no credit to me as much as to Beijing's predictable bullying.)


Q2. So what does  this current election mean for Taiwan? 

Fresh Blood. The face of an alternative to the stagnated 2 party dichotomy is Freddie Lim (of course an Aquarian). A cultural icon for Asian heavy metal music and Taiwanese political activism Freddie founded the pro- independent New Power Party  (NPP) among many other social justice advocacy work and won a seat in parliament. (Read the January 19th GQ article here.)




Young Taiwanese are interested in participating in politics and see the fruits of their activism.

Electric Revision: Hello  Madame President! What are some of the first things on Tsai Ing-wen's ambitious agenda?
Reclaim KMT assets in South Korea valued at over $ 760 million.
* Have Taiwan join the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) and compete with its global neighbors without keeping all of its eggs in one basket.
* Legislate transparency for all of Taiwanese- Chinese dealings. This was a major demand in the Sunflower Movement and means that Beijing will inadvertently be accountable to the Taiwanese people, which is mind blowing if you think about it.

In the long-term she plans on jump  starting the economy and innovation in 5 sectors including renewable energy, biotechnology and defense.

She must achieve this with the cooperation of the KMT, still maintain the "status quo" with China, while promoting Taiwanese businesses like HTC, Asus and MediaTek. Quite the cumbersome program!



Q3.) How will power be transferred from the defeated KMT to the DPP?

For now the world is watching how power will be transitioned from the KMT to the DPP and whether or not that involves a shadow gov't to assist with this handover. For now it appears there will be no temporary gov't, despite all of Ma's cabinet ministers stepping down. Ma has already insisted he will be no lame duck (ya right).


Q4.) What is the response of the US, Taiwan's biggest ally?

So far the US (Taiwan's main weapons supplier) stated they have a vested interest in maintaining peace between the two countries as well as being happy with the Taiwanese free election system, congratulating Tsai Ing-wen on her win.  Interestingly, Canada is quickly getting itself into a pickle and will have to eventually pick sides (read, "Canada's Government Looking the Other Way".)

Sources:
China Takes Aim at Taiwan
China Tells Taiwan to Abandon Independence
Meet Freddie Lim (GQ)
Pro China Posts Flood Taiwan President Elect's Facebook
China Military Reports Landing Drills Days After Taiwanese Election
Twenty Somethings in Taiwan and the Country's First Female President
Transparent Chinese Relations a Priority
How Will Mainland China Respond To Taiwan's Elections?
Canada's Government Looking the Other Way



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