An assessment of the recent unprecedented Taiwanese democratic elections, which, despite threats from Beijing, set the stage for genuine democracy in Taiwan. A firsthand account of three crucial elections in the 1990s, two of which were unprecedented: the 1994 election of the first governor of Taiwan and the 1996 presidential election. The latter marked the first direct election of a chief executive in Taiwan or any Chinese nation in 5,000 years of Chinese history. This study considers the political environment in which these elections were held, particular political issues, party strategies and campaigns, and election results.
Taiwan is now in the final stage of democracy, and its impressive political modernization is one proof of its new status. The 1995 legislative election and the 1996 presidential election were held amidst Beijing's intimidation in the form of missile tests close to Taiwan's shores, massive military excercises, and verbal threats. Such posturing forced the United States to send aircraft carriers to the area in response. Taiwan's remarkable progress has begun to draw the attention of the leaders of developing countries who have come to see Taiwan's political modernization as a model for their own nations.
About the Author:
JOHN F. COPPER is Stanley J. Buckman Distinguished Professor of International Studies at Rhodes College. He is the author of twenty-one books on China, Taiwan, and Asian Affairs. His most recent books include Taiwan: Nation-State or Province? (1996) and The Taiwan Political Miracle (1997).