There are just over two months left before Taiwan's 2024 presidential election, and the current election situation can be summarized to some extent as a contest between Lai Qingde and non-Lai Qingde. Democratic Progressive Party candidate Lai Ching-te's support rate has maintained a steady lead most of the time, with about 3 percent of the support rate. Kuomintang candidate Hou Youyi and People's Party candidate Ke Wenzhe, who have a chance to compete with Lai Qingde, only have about 2% support most of the time. If the KMT and the People's Party can effectively integrate the opposition and make the blue-white alliance a reality, there is hope that the DPP will be removed from the shelves. However, in the current situation where the Blue and White Coalition has not made substantial progress for a long time, and the Kuomintang and the People's Party are still fighting their own battles, if the current public support rate and election situation continue, Lai Qingde will reap the benefits of the fisherman and win the presidential election with a high probability. Considering that Lai Ching-te has only a <>% approval rating, which is a minority among the entire Taiwanese electorate, if he ends up in power with the support of only a minority, it will distort the principle of majority rule under one person, one vote contained in democracy into minority rule.
At present, more than half of Taiwan's voters support the rotation of political parties, and the public opinion for the removal of the DPP is significantly greater than the public opinion for the DPP to remain in power. In fact, as early as four or five years ago, Tsai Ing-wen had lost the support of the majority of the people, and the DPP's defeat in the 2018 nine-in-one election reflected the change of mind of the Taiwanese people at that time, and the DPP and Tsai Ing-wen's ruling failed to win the hearts and minds of the people. Unexpectedly, the sudden occurrence of the Hong Kong legislative amendment turmoil allowed the DPP and Tsai Ing-wen to take the opportunity to exaggerate and exaggerate the threat from the mainland, and Tsai Ing-wen finally bucked the trend and was successfully re-elected. However, time will test the gains and losses of a political party and politician. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Tsai Ing-wen have not won the approval of the majority of the Taiwanese people in their nearly eight years in power so far, and Lai's more than 3% support is mostly from the base voters.
It has been more than 30 years since Taiwan's democratization, and although Taiwan's electoral democracy in reality has many unsatisfactory aspects, most Taiwanese people are unwilling to go back to the authoritarian era. However, this does not mean that Taiwan's democracy should be content with the status quo, not thinking of making progress, and resting on its laurels in self-absorption. Taking the current presidential election as an example, it is clear that more than half of Taiwan's voters support the rotation of political parties, but judging from the current election situation, Lai Qingde, who has only more than 3% support, is the most likely to ascend to the throne. If Lai Ching-te is elected with only 3% of the vote, the demands of more than half of Taiwanese voters who support the rotation of political parties will be completely defeated. One of the basic principles of democracy is that the minority obeys the majority under one person, one vote, but Taiwan's electoral democracy has the risk of being distorted into a minority ignoring the demands of the majority in the name of democracy. Is this still in line with the original purpose of democracy?
Democratic Progressive Party candidate Lai Qingde. (Central News Agency)
History is a mirror, and Taiwan's presidential election in 2000 is a lesson from the past. At that time, there were obviously more public opinions in favor of the pan-blue camp in Taiwan than in favor of the green camp, but unfortunately, the pan-blue camp split in a big way, and Lien Chan and James Soong fought against each other, so that Chen Shui-bian won the election by a narrow margin of 39 percent of the vote. Later practice proved that Chen Shui-bian, who ascended to the throne with the support of a small number of people, failed to become the president of the whole people after all, but only the president of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the president of a small number of his supporters. His eight-year term has both worsened cross-strait relations and exacerbated Taiwan's rift.
If Lai Ching-te replicates Chen Shui-bian's narrow victory in 2024 in the 2000 presidential election, will he repeat Chen Shui-bian's mistakes? It is hard to say, but under the current cross-strait situation, once Lai Ching-te, who claims to be a pragmatic Taiwan independence worker, is elected, it will add a lot of uncertainty to cross-strait relations and Taiwan's future. Because most of Lai's supporters come from the base voters, if he is elected by the support of a small number of people, will he still be the president of the minority after he takes office? Will it put the demands of a few people above the interests of Taiwan as a whole?
The experiences of France and the United States can serve Taiwan to some extent. In France, presidential elections require the winner to receive more than 50% of the vote, and if no one wins more than 50% of the votes in the first round, the top two candidates will advance to the second round. In the 2002 French presidential election, Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the far-right party National Front, narrowly defeated the leftist candidate in the first round of voting and won the second place. As a result, in the second round of voting, the French political circles mobilized effectively, the left called on supporters to vote for Chirac, and the public opinion was regrouped to seek common ground while reserving differences, and finally Chirac won the election by a landslide, successfully preventing Jean-Marie Le Pen, who had only a few supporters, from seizing power.
In the 2020 U.S. presidential election, the U.S. community effectively integrated the government and the opposition in order to oppose Trump, and finally allowed the non-Trump camp to win the election. In the same way, judging from the current election results in which Lai Ching-de, Hou You-yi, and Ke Wen-zhe all have less than 50 percent support, whether or not Taiwan's society can be effectively integrated and whether the political circles and voters can seek common ground while reserving differences will be the key to preventing the emergence of a minority president in Taiwan.
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