chapter  1
40 Pages

Anatomy of an Electoral Earthquake: How the KMT Lost and the DPP Won the 2000 Presidential Election

ByLarry Diamond

On 18 March 2000, Taiwan experienced an electoral earthquake. After half a century in power on Taiwan, and after eight decades of continuous rule at the peak of political control, the Kuomintang (KMT) lost power in a free and fair presidential election. A vitally important dimension of the election campaign concerned the electoral strategy of each campaign. By the summer of 1999, the race for the 2000 presidential election campaign was a three-way contest between the ruling-party candidate, Vice-President Lien Chan, the ruling-party defector, James Soong, and the opposition party candidate, Chen Shui-bian. Soong entered the long campaign in July 2000 with formidable advantages and disadvantages. When he announced his independent candidacy he was by far the most popular candidate in the race. The choice of issues merged well with Chen’s electoral strategy. The final week of the campaign also witnessed a string of extraordinary rallies, particularly by the Democratic Progressive Party.