Taiwan. According to
Countryaah reports, the Taiwanese started the year with elections in
January. The opposition party Guomindang won a big victory
with 72 percent of the vote over the ruling Democratic
Progressive Party (DPP) which gained 24 percent.
Guomindang's success was thought to be partly due to the new
electoral system that had just been introduced, but also to
the fact that the DPP had been surrounded by a host of
corruption scandals at the highest political level in 2007.
Likely, popular skepticism about President Chen Shui-bian's
aggressive policy against the arch-enemy China also
contributed to the victory.
As a result, the DPP's loss of power resulted in
President Chen choosing to leave the post of DPP chairman.
He was replaced by Frank Hsieh, former prime minister.
In March, it was again time for the Taiwanese to go to
the polls, this time to elect the president. Winning was
Guomindang's candidate Ma Yingjeou, who won over DPP's Frank
Hsieh with 58 percent versus 42 percent. Ma is a lawyer and
was born in Hong Kong. He previously served as mayor of
Taibei in 1998-2006.
In his victory, Ma promised improved relations with
China, and a month later a meeting was held between Chinese
President Hu Jintao and Taiwan's future Vice President
In November, former President Chen Shui-bian was
arrested, who lost his prosecution immunity after leaving
office. He was suspected of neglecting state assets. Chen
was formally prosecuted in December and was arrested later
that month pending trial.
In November, Chen Yunlin, China's highest negotiator on
relations with Taiwan, traveled to Taibei. Not in half a
century had such a high-ranking Chinese representative
visited the island. Chen's visit was met by demonstrations
for Taiwan's independence.
In January 2014, Taiwan closed its military courts (and
prisons) in peacetime. It happened after a convicted
corporal the year before had died in his cell. Civil courts
then took over the handling of military cases.
The January 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections
were a devastating defeat for the Kuomintang government.
DPP's Tsai Ing-wen won the presidential election with 56.1%
of the vote, while KMT's Eric Chu had to settle for 31%. The
DPP got 68 out of Parliament's 113 seats and thus absolute
majority. KMT was almost halved and had to settle for 35
seats. It was the first time in the country's history it was
not the largest party in parliament. DPP's In February,
Chang San-cheng was inducted into the post of prime
minister. The cause of KMT's obvious defeat was to be sought
in the country's weak economic growth. For several years it
had remained at just a few percent, while growth in
neighboring countries in the region was 5-10%. KMT's
solution to the problem had been to connect closely with
China, but it did not immediately solve the problem. In
turn, it triggered an enhanced Taiwanese nationalism that
the DPP picked up. The party does not want closer contact
with China. It considers Taiwan to be a de-facto independent
state and, for many years, China had a very cool
relationship with the DPP, which did not diminish after the
party's takeover of power. Instead, the DPP wanted to
strengthen economic ties with the United States, Australia
and the EU.
In February, the country was hit by a minor earthquake
measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale. Despite the limited
strength of the quake, it caused a 17-story building to
collapse. Many other buildings were severely damaged.