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On Saturday, March 18, 2000, voters will go to 13,457 ballot booths in the "free area of the Republic of China" that is Taiwan. Four years after their democratic presidential election and with their island's future still uncertain, voters in Taiwan will be choosing a successor to current leader Lee Teng-hui. The five presidential candidates are independent James Soong, the Kuomintang's (KMT) Lien Chang, the New Party's Lee Ao, independent Hsu Hsin-liang and the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) Chen Shui-bian (Fig.1). But as Taiwan's people prepare to choose only their second popularly elected president and perhaps transfer Taiwan's leadership to a new party for the first time in 51 years. The three leading candidates (Lien Chan, Chen Shui-bian, and James Soong) have been subdues, their rhetoric mild, and the tone tentative and cautious. The reason is China, 90 miles away across the Taiwan Strait (Fig 2). When the communists took control of China in 1949, the Nationalists under Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan, where they established the Republic of China as a government in exile and imposed martial law. China has considered Taiwan a renegade province ever since and has threatened to use force to bring about reunification. Four years ago, as Taiwan prepared for its first-ever direct presidential election, China rattled its tiny neighbor-and brought U.S. warships to the scene-by conducting missile tests in the Taiwan Strait. On February 21, 2000, less than a month before Taiwan's election on March 18, the Chinese struck again. This time they announced that foot-dragging on reunification had been added tot he list of things-international meddling or a declaration of independence are the others-that would trigger an attack on Taiwan. There are other issues in this year's election including corruption and election, including corruption and campaign finance reform, but the issue known as "cross-strait relation" is far and away the most important.
History of Political Parties in Taiwan:
There has been a long history of election in Taiwan. But the democratic reforms in Taiwan have been gathering momentum over the last decade. Ever since steps were first taken to liberalize and expand the political process, each election has carried politics on Taiwan closes to the goal of full democracy. The political parties of the Republic of China are the Kuomintang, Democratic Progressive Party, and the New Party. The Kuamintang (Nationalist Party) is the current ruling party of the Republic of China. Having to celebrate its one hundredth anniversary on November 24, 1994, the KMT has widespread appeal, boasting a membership of approximately 2.1 million. The party was founded as a revolutionary league dedicated to overthrowing the Chinese monarchy in 1912 when its leader Sun Yat-sen established the Republic of China after the collapse of the Qing (Ching) dynasty. Following Sun's death in 1925, Chiang Kai-shek assumed control of the KMT and in collaboration with the Communists consolidated the governments power throughout China. In 1927, however, Chiang turned on the Communists, launched and killed thousands and crushed communists organized labor
unions, thus beginning a long devastating civil war. In the late 1930s the KMT and the Communists reunited to fight the Japanese but only for the duration of World War II, and
in 1945 they were again fighting each other for control of China. After suffering a series of defeats at the hands of the Communists, Chiang and his Nationalists forces fled to Taiwan in 1949. The Kuomintang has maintained a virtual monopoly of power on the island ever sine, holding nearly all legislative, executive, and judicial posts. Over the past decade, however, it has seen some of its power eroded by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party. The Democratic Progressive Party, formed on Sept. 28, 1986, now has approximately 200,000 members. The Party's organizational structure closely resembles that of the Kuomintang. The party was established primarily by family members and defense lawyers of imprisoned dissidents, the DPP became the first political party to challenge the Kuomintang's decades long grip on power. The DPP quickly support from ethnic Taiwanese frustrated by the authoritarian rule of the Kuomintang, whose loyalists and leaders had fled from mainland China in 1949 following their army's defense by the Chinese Communists. In its charter the DPP promotes holding a referendum on independence from China and opposes the Kuomintang's "one China's policy." DPP presidential candidate Chen Shui-bian has pledged, however, that if elected he will not declare independence for Taiwan unless China invades. The New P
Quotes talked about in this paper
Terminology mentioned in this research paper
Names talked about in this research material
The five presidential candidates, Chen Shui-bian, the KMT’s candidate, Chen, Lien, Soong, President Lee, President Lee Teng-hui, Chiang Kai-shek, Lien Chang, Lee Ao,
Organizations mentioned in this term paper
Democratic Progressive Party, the KMT, Nationalist Party, Taiwan’s Government Information Office, KMT-Communist Party,
Locations referenced in this research material
Republic of China, Taiwan Province, Beijing,
Keywords included in this research material
Taiwan, China, Soong, Democratic Progressive Party, Chen Shui bian, Lien Chan, James Soong, presidential candidates, Taiwan Strait, presidential election, Kuomintang, Taiwan Province, mainland china, President Lee, Vice President, martial law, ruling party, political party, party leader, 2000 presidential election, one china, Chiang Kai shek, Lee Teng hui, legislative yuan, political parties, organizational structure, Beijing government, european union, Chinese Communists, campaign finance reform, Generalissimo Chiang, World War II, Government Information Office, Hsu Hsin liang, political dissidents, political process, non aggression pact, Campaign Staff, November 1999, political contributions, 90 miles, one hundredth, Taipei, August 1999, opinion polls, Sun Yat sen, first time, local politics, Taipei City, win win situation,