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The Anomaly of Taiwanese Democracy

Trevor Sutton discusses why policymakers in Washington, D.C., should pay attention to the success of Taiwan's democratic experiment.

At a moment when democratic governance seems increasingly under strain in countries around the world, Taiwan is a rare bright spot. Since emerging from decades of martial law in 1987, the island has held seven national elections unmarred by significant irregularities and experienced multiple peaceful transfers of power between the incumbent Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its principal rival, the Kuomintang (KMT). During that time, Taiwanese politics has proven resilient in grappling with thorny issues such as same sex marriage, the rights of indigenous peoples, and reliance on nuclear power, all of which have been the subject of civil public debate and incorporated into the platforms of political parties. Last month, Taiwan’s democracy successfully conducted what was arguably its most high-stakes election to date, which resulted in a second term for DPP President Tsai Ing-Wen and a renewed majority for the DPP in Taiwan’s legislature.

The above excerpt was originally published in The Washington Monthly. Click here to view the full article.

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Trevor Sutton

Senior Fellow