Taiwan in 2001: Stalemated on all fronts

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Taiwan (the Republic of China, ROC) in 2001 lived under the impact of the historic 2000 presidential elections in which the Kuomintang (KMT) for the first time lost its grip on the central government. The winner of the presidential elections, the charismatic Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) leader Chen Shui-bian, faced stern challenges from three fronts. Politically, Chen had to live with a KMT-dominated Legislative Yuan that has the power to cast a vote of no confidence on Chen's DPP government. Economically, Chen had to navigate between the DPP's avowed antinuclear position and the business sector's insistence on continuing the construction of Taiwan's controversial fourth nuclear power plant. In terms of cross-Strait relations, the DPP's pro-independence stance dashed any chance to improve Taipei's relationship with Beijing. On top of all these challenges, Taiwan found itself in the middle of a worldwide economic recession. Taiwan in 2001 thus witnessed an unprecedented economic crisis accompanied by a domestic political stalemate and cross-Strait impasse. At the end of the year, parliamentary elections were held that deprived the KMT of its majority position in the Legislative Yuan. They also gave the DPP and its new ideological ally, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), a total of 100 seats in the 225-seat Legislative Yuan. President Chen is counting on a more efficient government now that the parliamentary opposition has been curtailed, a world economic rebound, and the hope that Beijing will be forced to negotiate with him. It seems doubtful, however, that the President will get what he hopes for as Taiwan navigates into 2002.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-38
Number of pages10
JournalAsian Survey
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


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