Taiwan in 2000: Managing the aftershocks from power transfer

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Taiwan (the Republic of China, ROC) in 2000 was overwhelmed by such issues as the March presidential election and its impact on the island's conflict-prone political system, the fragile relationship with the People's Republic of China (PRC), and a shaky economy. The victory of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Chen Shui-bian in the presidential election was itself a milestone in the ROC's political development, for it ended the more than half century rule of the Kuomintang (KMT). Beijing's saber rattling over the Taiwanese electorate's choice of a pro-independence candidate was less noisy than expected. However, just as people began congratulating themselves on the smooth power transfer and the relatively tranquil state of cross-Strait relations, Taiwan suddenly was caught up by the unprecedented eruption of a feud between the new president and the KMT-dominated Legislative Yuan. Political uncertainty, plus the DPP's pro-environment and pro-welfare policies, put Taiwan's stock market into a tailspin. President Chen and his KMT opponents collided over the issue of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant. Chen's first prime minister Tang Fei resigned under great pressure. A DPP minority government was formed in October. At the end of the year the KMT majority in the Legislative Yuan was gearing up to impeach the president. All in all, Taiwan experienced unprecedented volatility in its domestic politics, and it is certain that shocks of greater magnitude are waiting ahead.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-48
Number of pages9
JournalAsian Survey
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


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