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2016 Taiwan elections to have profound geo-political impact

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

01-15-2016 14:44 BJT

By Gu Jianjun, Post Doctorate, Department of World Development Strategy, Central Compilation and Translation Bureau

On January 16, China's Taiwan will hold elections for the leadership and the Legislature. The election will have a profound geo-political impact on the Asia-Pacific region and the world. The ruling-KMT Party had won elections in 2008 with Ma Ying-jeou sweeping into power. Both sides of the Taiwan Straits have stressed the importance of the "1992 Consensus," which says both sides adhere to the principle of one China.


Accordingly, relations have improved as they launched direct flights and have set up closer trade links. This has been the most stable and peaceful stage for both sides since 1949. Both leaders across the Taiwan Straits support a sea of peace.

On November 7, 2015, Xi Jinping and Ma Ying-jeou held a historic meeting in Singapore to start direct communications between the leaders of the Straits for the first time in 66 years.

However, according to the latest polls, Tsai Ing-Wen, candidate of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), enjoys a stronger support rate than Zhu Lilun of the KMT, and James Soong of the People First Party with more than 20%.

Some Taiwanese analysts predict Tsai Ing-wen will win the election. The DPP would replace the KMT and become the largest party in the Legislature, holding more than half the seats.

The Chinese Mainland has repeatedly stressed that the "1992 consensus" is the common political basis for consultations and negotiations for both sides of the Straits.

A review of the DPP's past behavior as ruling party in Taiwan have shown that the former leader Chen Shui-bian, currently serving a sentence in prison over corruption charges, had refused to recognize the one China principle.

He undermined cross-straits dialogue. Tsai Ing-wen promised that if she would win, she would maintain the status quo of cross-straits relations.

However, her lack of a clear cross-straits policy may not guarantee opposition groups inside and outside of the DPP from preventing a "Taiwan independence" move.

Tsai Ing-wen had guaranteed not to behave as a trouble maker as Chen Shui-bian had done. However, her ambiguous attitude could hinder mutual trust cross-strait.

Both sides of the Straits have expressed their concerns. In 2000, the parties' rotations had caused ups and downs of cross-straits relations. Ma said the DPP could harm cross-straits relations, which would make some people sad.

The Economist had conveyed worries that it will be dangerous for Taiwan to elect a leader that supports an independence movement. The White House has also appealed to the Mainland and Taiwan to avoid added tensions during the elections.

January 15 is the last day for elections. Despite polls showing strong support for Tsai Ing-Wen, the DPP could  win. The support rate for KMT Chu is on the rise. Zhu has endorsed the "1992 consensus."

In 2012, Taiwan had about 6 million voters abstaining from elections, which had accounted for nearly a third of all voters. In the last 48 hours before the final elections, the results appear to be set, but silent groups remain a huge force to affect results.

Election results will be revealed on January 16. No matter who wins, the "1992 consensus" is still the basis point for cross Straits relations. Both sides should adhere to a one China policy,otherwise the cross Straits relations would develop adversely. 


( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.


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