Section 3. Freedom to Participate in the Political Process
The constitution provides citizens the ability to choose their elected officials in free and fair periodic elections held by secret ballot and based on universal and equal suffrage.
Recent Elections: Presidential and legislative elections took place in January 2016. DPP candidate Tsai Ing-wen won the presidency, and her party obtained a majority in the legislature for the first time in Taiwan’s history. In November 2018 Taiwan held local elections in which the opposition Kuomintang party won 15 of 22 mayoral and county magistrate seats. Observers regarded both elections as free and fair, although there were allegations of vote buying by candidates and supporters of both major political parties.
Political Parties and Political Participation: The Political Party Act promotes fair political competition and improved the regulation of party activities. The statute bans political parties from operating for profit businesses or investing in real estate for profit, and levies fines between NT$5.0 million and NT$25 million ($163,000 and $814,000) for violations. All political parties are required to complete legal person registration with the MOI before December 7 in accordance with the act.
The Legislative Yuan amended the Referendum Act in June to decouple referenda from national elections. Starting from 2021 referenda are to be held on the fourth Saturday of August every two years.
Participation of Women and Minorities: No laws limit the participation of women or members of minorities in the political process, and they did participate.
With her election in 2016, President Tsai Ing-wen became Taiwan’s first female president. In the new legislature, a record 38 percent of lawmakers were women. A Cambodian-born woman became Taiwan’s first immigrant legislator in 2016. Six seats are also reserved in the legislature for representatives chosen by Taiwan’s indigenous people. In the November 2018 local elections, voters elected women to seven of the 22 mayoral and county magistrate seats. The number of women elected to local councils also continued to grow: women won 307 of the 912 city and county council seats–an increase from 30.7 percent in 2014 to 33.8 percent in 2018.