Republic of China presidential election, 2008

Republic of China presidential election, 2008
Republic of China presidential election, 2008
Republic of China
2004 ←
March 22, 2008
→ 2012

  Ma Ying-jeou Berkeley 2006 (cropped).jpg Frank Hsieh.jpg
Nominee Ma Ying-jeou Hsieh Chang-ting
Party Kuomintang Democratic Progressive
Running mate Vincent Siew Su Tseng-chang
Popular vote 7,658,724 5,445,239
Percentage 58.45% 41.33%


County-level units won by:
  Ma-Siew Ticket
  Hsieh-Su Ticket

President before election

Chen Shui-bian
Democratic Progressive

Elected President

Ma Ying-jeou

The election for the 12th-term President and Vice-President of the Republic of China [1] was held in the Republic of China (ROC) on Saturday, March 22, 2008.[2] Kuomintang (KMT) nominee Ma Ying-jeou won with 58% of the vote, ending eight years of Democratic Progressive Party rule. Along with the 2008 legislative election, Ma's landslide victory brought the Kuomintang back to power in Taiwan.[3][4]

This was the fourth direct election for the President of the Republic of China. The two candidates were Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Frank Hsieh and Kuomintang (KMT) nominee Ma Ying-jeou. The KMT ticket was officially formed as of June 23, 2007, with Ma announcing his choice for running mate to be former premier Vincent Siew. The DPP ticket was announced in August, 2007, with Frank Hsieh selecting former Premier Su Tseng-chang. Unlike the 2004 presidential election, the political rhetoric of the campaigns tended to focus on economic issues and government corruption rather than national identity and the political status of Taiwan, with both candidates endorsing the status quo in the short term.[5] But much like previous elections, this election was also marked with island-wide mass rallies and much political mudslinging.

The KMT ticket received a larger percentage and more votes than any other candidate in the previous three direct presidential elections. The election occurred as incumbent President Chen Shui-bian's popularity remained at record lows following mass rallies in September 2006 urging him to resign amid implications of corruption. Amid general economic malaise, as unemployment had risen under Chen's presidency and Taiwan's per capita GDP was surpassed by that of South Korea, Ma won on a platform of economic revitalization and a promise to improve cross-straits relations, in contrast to Chen's confrontational style, as "a peacemaker not a troublemaker".[6] The election occurred in the wake of the KMT's landslide victory in the 2008 legislative elections in which the Pan-Blue Coalition won a three-quarters majority in the Legislative Yuan. On the same day two referenda on joining the United Nations, the first supported by the DPP of President Chen and the second supported by the KMT, failed due to low turnout. Prior to the vote, the KMT had encouraged its supporters to boycott the DPP referendum, and expressed its "understanding" if supporters boycotted both.


Presidential nominees

Candidates were to register with their respective parties March 5–9, 2007, for a primary election. Selection of candidates for President in the Republic of China, unlike most other nations, were weighed.[vague] The actual primary election results accounted for 30% of the final outcome while public opinion polls accounted for the other 70%. Final tallies were announced May 30, 2007.[7]

Democratic Progressive Party

Leading candidates for the Democratic Progressive Party "Four Heavenly Kings" (a less literal translation in English that perhaps gives the meaning more clearly is the "Four Heavyweights") sans incumbent President Chen Shui-bian (who was barred from running due to term limits)—Frank Hsieh, Su Tseng-chang, and Yu Shyi-kun—and incumbent vice president Annette Lu. All three of the men had served as premier under Chen Shui-bian and as DPP chairman during part of the Chen presidency. In addition, Hsieh has been a popular mayor of Kaohsiung, Su has been county magistrate of Taipei County and Pingtung County, and Yu served as Secretary-General in the Office of the President.

On May 6, 2007, the DPP primaries took place in all 24 cities and counties in Taiwan. There were 254,963 eligible voters, with voter turnout at 56.06%.[8] Former premier Frank Hsieh emerged as the winner of the DPP primaries, winning 17 of 24 cities and counties with 62,849 votes, about 44% of the votes cast.[9] Despite the fact that the primary results only account for 30% of the final outcome in determining the nominee, fellow DPP candidates Su, who got 46,994 votes; Yu, with 22,211 votes; and Lu with 8,666 votes, endorsed Hsieh before the second stage primary, based on opinion polls, was held, causing the DPP to cancel the second stage primary.[10]

The junior partner in the pan-green coalition, the Taiwan Solidarity Union, neither fielded nor endorsed a candidate. TSU Chairman Shu Chin-Chiang seemingly endorsed Ma on September 19, 2007 when he referred to Ma as "our President-to-be." At the same time, several TSU legislators stated that they would support DPP candidate Frank Hsieh.[11] In December, Lee Teng-hui, considered the "spiritual leader" of the TSU, rescinded his support of Chen in 2004, and urged citizens against voting for the DPP in upcoming legislative elections. While Lee openly denounced supporting the ruling DPP party, he stopped short of endorsing any party or candidate and waited until March 20, 2008 (two days before the election) to endorse Hsieh.[12]


Ma Ying-jeou, seen here waving to supporters during a visit to UC Berkeley, outlined his cross-strait policy during his March 2006 visit to the United States.

Following the KMT's defeat in 2004 and before the 2005 KMT chairman election, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou and Legislative Yuan President Wang Jin-pyng were both considered leading candidates for the nomination. Ma's landslide victory over Wang in the 2005 KMT chairman election immediately made him the frontrunner. His position was furthered bolstered by the KMT's victories in the 2005 3-in-1 local elections. Ma Ying-jeou began his campaign before his announcement for candidacy, taking trips Europe and Japan in 2006, nominally to obtain business deals for Taipei, but covered widely by the media for his foreign policy remarks. He met with numerous politicians in Washington, DC, including U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick. Significantly, Ma Ying-jeou became the first head of a pan-Blue coalition party to state that declaring de jure Taiwanese independence was a legitimate choice of the Taiwanese people, though he qualified it saying that this was not a position of the KMT, after receiving much criticism from pan-Blue politicians. He also stated that Taiwan should form a common market with mainland China and establish direct transportation links.

On February 13, 2007 Ma was indicted for misuse of official funds as Taipei Mayor and announced his candidacy as he resigned the KMT chairmanship. He was formally nominated as the KMT candidate on May 2, 2007. Wang did not run against Ma and Ma was virtually unopposed. Final approval of the nomination was passed by the KMT congress in June.[13] Wang was an early frontrunner to be Ma's running-mate but declined the position absent of assurances from Ma of what responsibilities he would hold as vice president. Other leading candidates were Wu Tun-yi, incumbent KMT general secretary; Jason Lin, CEO of Uni-President Group; and Tsai Ing-wen, a DPP member and former vice-premier.[14] On June 23, 2007, Ma officially announced former premier and former vice-presidential candidate (in 2000) Vincent Siew as his running mate, praising Siew's economic experience and declaring the economy to be the central focus of his campaign.[15]

Neither the New Party nor the People First Party, junior partners of the KMT in the "Pan-Blue Coalition," fielded a candidate and endorsed the KMT ticket. PFP Chairman James Soong appeared at KMT headquarters once Ma's victory became apparent and pledged to dissolve the PFP to join the KMT.


Tens of thousands of Taiwanese waved banners and shouted political slogans March 16, 2008, as the island's rival parties rallied support ahead of the March 22, 2008 presidential elections,[16] with the March 2008 violence in Tibet in the background[original research?] and Taiwan's own relations with the Chinese mainland on the front burner.[citation needed] The Taiwan-wide events were meant to energize supporters in the home stretch of a race that has so far lacked the passion and commitment of presidential elections in 2000 and 2004.[16]

The Economy

Since selecting Vincent Siew as his running mate, Ma announced that the focus of his election campaign was the recovery of the Taiwanese economy. He said that the independencereunification debate is a "fake issue" with no bearing on the general welfare of the Taiwanese people. He also labeled Siew as the would-be "chief architect" to revive the economy, because of Siew's solid economic background.

Ma proposed a common market with China; Hsieh said this would lead to job losses and importation of dangerous Chinese products, referring to lead-contaminated toys from Mattel and an excess of highly qualified workers from China.


KMT fights with the slogans "Save Taiwan (救台灣), Put the economy together (拼經濟), we need respect (要尊嚴), let's fight for righteousness (爭公義)

The investigations into alleged misuse of funds by members of both the KMT and DPP were another hot topic.

President Chen Shui-Bian suffered a large loss in popularity due to corruption allegations concerning his family. The KMT attempted to capitalize on Ma's public image as a man of integrity, which stemmed from his investigations into vote-buying within his own party while he served as Justice Minister in the early 90s. Ma resigned as Justice Minister in the mid-1990s and his political career was considered to be over due to what some thought was his zealous investigation of corruption. However, Ma Ying-Jeou was indicted on charges of misusing his Mayoral discretionary funds, which was intended for funding personal expenses related to official duties. Ma moved half of the funds into his personal accounts, and his defense was that this practice was standard among government officials. Ma maintained his innocence and stated that the indictment amounted to political prosecution and he would not give up his run for presidency even if found guilty.

DPP candidate Frank Hsieh came under investigation for similar charges in irregularity and misuse of funds while he served as mayor of Kaohsiung. However, different from Ma, Hsieh stated that if he was found guilty in his Mayoral funds case, he would not continue running for president.

On August 12, 2007, Ma was acquitted of misusing the funds, but one of his office clerk was found guilty and faced a year in prison for his own failures in administrative duties.

Status of Taiwan

As is common with Taiwanese elections, an important issue in the election is the future political status of Taiwan and maintenance of good cross-straits relations and avoidance of war with People's Republic of China (PRC). In general, the DPP favors Taiwan independence; the KMT, on the other hand, promotes the one-China principle and desires eventual unification of Taiwan with mainland China, as the KMT still regards the ROC as the sole legitimate government of China. The KMT's main objective is to establish a closer economic relationship with mainland China. It was widely recognized that no candidate could win without supporting the status quo of de facto autonomy and ambiguous legal status (as they did in 2004) in order to attract centrist voters. Also, in 2004, both mainstream candidates recognized eventual unification and independence as a possible option as a means to attract the center. The strategy of both sides, as was the case in 2004, was to persuade voters that it can best maintain the status quo and protect Taiwan from coerced unification by the People's Republic of China.

While the smaller, more radical TSU favors immediate moves to rename the country as Republic of Taiwan, the much more mainstream DPP under Chen Shui-bian has taken a more moderate position regarding independence during incumbency. At the same time the Chen administration has moved to promote a separate Taiwanese identity and give official recognition to Taiwan's de facto independence from the mainland such as by equating Taiwan with the Republic of China. The front-runners for the DPP nomination are all considered more moderate then Chen Shui-bian.

The KMT party line is against one country, two systems, but supports dialogue with the Communist Party of China under the "1992 Consensus" which presumes one China, different interpretations. During the campaign, Ma articulated a three noes policy, no independence, no unification, no use of force. He has also stated that during his first term of office, he will not discuss unification, make no changes to the ROC constitution, and will not personally meet Hu Jintao.

The DPP, in contrast, opposes recognizing One China (a prerequisite set by the PRC for negotiations), and no official talks have occurred under the Chen administration. The DPP also denies that there ever was a consensus in 1992. Both sides supports opening of the three links with mainland China, but with different focus on time and security. Difficulty comes from the PRC's refusal to negotiate unless the Taiwanese counterparty accepts the one-China principle under the 1992 consensus, which only allows the KMT to start three links in early incumbency.

Use of the name "Taiwan"

During the presidency of Chen Shui-bian, some state-controlled and state-owned firms have restored or added "Taiwan" to their names, such as renaming Chunghwa Post (Chinese Post) to Taiwan Post, the name it bore into the ROC period of rule on Taiwan; and Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, its originally planned name. The naming controversy of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and the legality of the Central Government's name-change administrative order was another topic of heated debate. Conservative observers tended to view the name changes as signs of reactionary desinicization, while others viewed the name changing as signs of Taiwan localization movement carving a separate identity for Taiwan's name. The issue was, like most others, split strongly between Pan-Blue and Pan-Green supporters.

President-Elect Ma Ying-jeou pledged that he would revert the name changes of national landmarks, government organizations, and government-owned corporations conducted by the Chen Shui-bian administration. The Pan-Blue generally considered these name changes to be illegal because they were done through administrative orders, bypassing the Pan-Blue dominated legislature. Further examples of landmarks and organizations that were renamed are Chinese Petroleum Company and China Shipbuilding Corporation.

Green card issue

An issue that had been brought into the presidential campaign is the questioning of Ma Ying-jeou's loyalty to the Republic of China and to the people of Taiwan by his opponent Frank Hsieh and the Democratic Progressive Party legislators.[17][18] Hsieh stated that Ma would not have become former President Chiang Ching-kuo's English secretary in 1977 if Chiang had known that Ma was in possession of a green card and his status as a US permanent resident.[18]

Chiang instructed public servants not to keep a foot in both camps. Public servants working under him were not allowed to have green cards,
Frank Hsieh "DPP continues attack on Ma Ying-jeou: Green With Envy?" Taipei Times (Thursday, January 31, 2008)[18]

Ma Ying-Jeou at first denied that he had a green card[citation needed], however, he later admitted that he once possessed one.[19] He also stated that he had not violated any law by possessing a US green card and that he never intended to hide the fact he was once a US permanent resident. He also maintained that possession of a green card, as well as having the status as a US permanent resident, was not against any government regulations at the time.[17] Ma also stated that he believed that his green card was automatically invalidated when he applied for a US visa at the American Institute in Taiwan in 1985.[18] Hsieh's questioning of Ma Ying-jeou's loyalty to the Republic of China and to the people of Taiwan as a President with two passports continued when he stated that several of Ma's family members carried US passports and citizenship, including Ma's US born daughter Lesley Weichung Ma.[18] Ma's response was that

[My family members] have US passports, but they love Taiwan very much. Obtaining a green card has nothing to do with the issue of loyalty. It is only a way to live or travel in the US
Ma Ying-jeou "DPP continues attack on Ma Ying-jeou: Green With Envy?" Taipei Times (Thursday, January 31, 2008)[18]

Two TVBS political opinion poll conducted after Hsieh released his statement showed a slight dip in Ma Ying-jeou's support, but was well within the margin of error.[17][20]

Hsieh office incident

Four pan-blue legislators attempted to enter the Hsieh election headquarters without permission, with the reason that they were there to investigate the claim that the government provided them office space for free. Hsieh's supporters surrounded them and blocked them as they tried to leave; fighting broke out. The pan-green called it an illegal search and said the pan-blue camp will carry out further similar actions if they controlled both the executive and legislature.

The legislators were labeled the "Four Idiots"(四個笨蛋) by the media and suspended from the party. Ma apologized for their actions on six separate occasions.[21]

It is illegal to publish opinion polls in the ten days leading up to the election, but gambling syndicates changed their offering to "Ma wins by 200,000 votes" bets, down from "Ma wins by 500,000 votes" bets before the incident.[citation needed]

Chuang Guo-rong's profanity incident

On March 16, 2008, standing for DPP candidate Frank Hsieh at a rally in Taichung, Chuang Kuo-jung, a deputy secretary for the Department of Education, called Ma Ying-jeou a "chicken" and further insulted his father and family. He mentioned a recent discovery by a magazine investigation that Ma's father Ma Ho-ling was proven to have slept with his foster daughter in the past. This drew the wrath of the Taiwanese public. With more investigations by broadcasting channels, the claims were deemed fake. DPP officials felt that the wording used by Chuang was insulting and inappropriate, and therefore, publicly apologized for Chuang's uncalled for and profane remarks. His speech was ridden with distaste and foul language deemed inappropriate for broadcast television, and had to be censored by NCC. Chuang initially resigned from his post as secretary of the Ministry of Education without an apology. Minister Tu accepted the resignations, after reservations. The next day, Chuang issued a formal apology through media.

Chuang's behavior has consequences affecting his teaching position at the National Chengchi University. As of June 19, 2008,[22] the faculty panel has decided not to renew his teaching contract for the following school year.

Impact of unrest in Tibet

Hsieh seized on the 2008 unrest in Tibet to shift the focus of the campaign away from economic issues and accuse Ma of wanting to make Taiwan a "second Tibet".[23] Ma was more cautious, and said he didn't know who was responsible for the violence.[24] Government ministers tried to help Hsieh by ominously comparing a reunified Taiwan with Tibet, and pressuring China to speak with the Dalai Lama.[21] Ma himself tried to capitalize on the Tibet issue by suggesting a boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Hsieh fired back that it would only hurt the Chinese Taipei athletes, and that that proved that Ma was a "cold-hearted person".[23] But while there was speculation that Tibet could become a swing issue, the final vote went as predicted.[25]

Opinion polling

Opinion polls were held by various news agencies and organizations in Taiwan during the election campaign. Before the election, the last of such polls was published on March 11, 2008 because, according to ROC law, opinion polls could not be published within ten days of the election. However, polls can still be taken during the ten days.

Polling Firm Date Source Ma-Siew
TVBS 21 March 2008 PDF 51 29 20
TVBS 20 March 2008 PDF 53 31 16
TVBS 19 March 2008 PDF 52 30 18
TVBS 18 March 2008 PDF 50 31 19
TVBS 17 March 2008
Chuang Guo-rong's profanity incident
PDF 54 28 18
TVBS 14 March 2008 PDF 51 29 20
TVBS 13 March 2008 PDF 47 32 21
TVBS 12 March 2008
Hsieh office incident
PDF 47 30 23
TVBS 11 March 2008 PDF 54 29 17
TVBS 10 March 2008 PDF 53 29 18
Global Views (遠見雜誌)† 10 March 2008 HTML 61.7 38.3 --
China Times 9 March 2008
After the second debate
HTML 1 2 48.9 21.8 29.3
United Daily News HTML 52 22 26
TVBS PDF 50 31 19
South News HTML 41 38 21
United Daily News March 5–9, 2008
Before the second debate
HTML 49 21 30
TVBS 7 March 2008 PDF 54 28 18
Apple Daily HTML 41.3 19.8 38.9
China Times 5 March 2008 HTML 1 2 52.7 21.1 26.2
Global Views (遠見雜誌)† 3 March 2008 PDF 61.8 38.2 --
United Daily News 29 February 2008 HTML 55 18 27
TVBS PDF 54 30 16
China Times 24 February 2008
After the first debate
HTML 48.6 22.7 28.7
United Daily News HTML 49 21 30
TVBS PDF 49 29 22
TVBS 22 February 2008 PDF 53 31 17
China Times 21 February 2008 HTML 47 22 31
Global Views (遠見雜誌)† 20 February 2008 PDF 63.3 36.7 --
TVBS 15 February 2008 PDF 53 29 19
United Daily News 14 February 2008
Spy incident
HTML 56 18 26
Apple Daily 13 February 2008 HTML 36.3 19.5 44.2
TVBS 31 January 2008 PDF 56 30 14
TVBS 29 January 2008
Green card incident
PDF 53 26 21
United Daily News 26 January 2008
Before the official registration of candidacy
HTML 54 23 23
China Times 25 January 2008 HTML 46.0 23.2 30.8
Global Views (遠見雜誌)† 18 January 2008 HTML 1 2 62.3 37.7 --
China Times via United Daily News 16 January 2008 HTML 52.8 20.8 26.4
TVBS 15 January 2008 PDF 56 26 18
United Daily News 13 January 2008
After the legislative election
HTML 60 18 22
China Times HTML 51.4 19.9 28.7
China Times via United Daily News 9 January 2008 HTML 48.3 25.1 26.6
China Times via United Daily News 3 January 2008 HTML 47.5 22.5 30
United Daily News 28 December 2007
After Ma is cleared of corruption charges
HTML 52 23 25
China Times via United Daily News HTML 45.3 24.2 30.5
Global Views (遠見雜誌)† 19 December 2007 PDF 60.8 39.2 --
China Times via United Daily News 20 November 2007 HTML 37.1 21.4 41.5
Global Views (遠見雜誌)† 19 November 2007 HTML 58.6 41.4 --
China Times via United Daily News 16 November 2007 HTML 36.9 22.1 41
China Times via United Daily News 8 November 2007 HTML 35.7 24.9 39.4
United Daily News 24 October 2007 HTML 50 25 25
Global Views (遠見雜誌)† 18 October 2007 HTML 59.4 40.6 --
United Daily News 22 September 2007
After Hsieh and Su not indicted in their discretionary funds cases
HTML 51 27 22
TVBS 19 September 2007 PDF 53 30 17
Global Views (遠見雜誌)† 20 September 2007 PDF 60.9 39.1 --
TVBS 28 August 2007 PDF 54 32 14
Global Views (遠見雜誌)† 21 August 2007 PDF 61.6 38.4 --
TVBS 15 August 2007 PDF 51 30 19
Era News via United Daily News 14 August 2007
After Ma is cleared of corruption charges
HTML 45.5 21.8 32.7
United Daily News HTML 52 22 26
China Times via United Daily News HTML 37.0 25.2 37.8
United Daily News 13 August 2007
After announcement of the Hsieh-Su ticket's formation
HTML 40 27 33
Kuomintang 9 August 2007 HTML 58.2 41.8 --
TVBS 2 August 2007 PDF 47 28 25
Global Views (遠見雜誌)† July 2007 PDF 62.3 37.7 --
TVBS 11 July 2007 PDF 49 25 26
China Times 24 June 2007
After announcement of the Ma-Siew ticket's formation
HTML 40 20 40
United Daily News HTML 50 23 27
TVBS PDF 51 27 22
Global Views (遠見雜誌)† June 2007 PDF 56.6 43.4 --
United Daily News 4 June 2007 HTML 58 17 25
TVBS 22 May 2007 PDF 50 25 25
Global Views (遠見雜誌)† May 2007 HTML 57.3 42.7 --
China Times May 2007 HTML 33 24 43
United Daily News 6 May 2007 HTML 43 28 29
TVBS 4 May 2007 DOC 50 29 21
United Daily News 29 April 2007 HTML 52 21 27
TVBS 29 January 2007 PDF 60 20 20

Note: It is important to note that in terms of political orientation, TVBS, United Daily News, and China Times are considered Pan-Blue and pro-unification,[26][27] while sources such as South News are considered Pan-Green and pro-independence.

Republic of China law also prohibits the publishing of any new opinion polling data in the last ten days leading up to the election.

† Numbers published by Global Views are calculated from a campaign indicator model.


The election was by direct popular vote; a simple plurality was required to win. According to the Constitution of the Republic of China, all citizens of the Republic of China of at least 20 years of age who have held household registration in the "Free Area of the Republic of China" (Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu, etc.) were eligible to vote. Under existing law, all voters travelled to their registered precincts to vote.[28] Ballots were counted by hand at the precincts and the KMT declared victory less than three hours after the close of polls at 4:00 pm.

Because of KMT strategy of having people boycott the referendum, one major controversy, like in 2004 was the format of the polling, specifically as whether the referendum questions would be on the same or different ballots as the Presidency. While in 2004 the Central Electoral Commission allowed U shaped line in which people would first cast a ballot for President and then cast a separate ballot for each of the two questions, the Commission ordered voters to cast all votes at once on separate ballots. Voters who choose not to cast a referendum ballot simply declined to pick up the extra two ballots.

Election results

e • d Summary of the 22 March 2008 Republic of China presidential election results
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
President Vice president
Emblem of the Kuomintang.svg Kuomintang Ma Ying-jeou Vincent Siew 7,659,014 58.45% Vote1.png
Green Taiwan in White Cross.svg Democratic Progressive Party Frank Hsieh Su Tseng-chang 5,444,949 41.55%
Total 13,103,963 100.00%

Polls closed at 16:00 local time (UTC+8) on March 22, 2008. The final result, with all 14,401 precincts reporting, showed a landslide victory for the KMT candidate Ma Ying-jeou over the DPP candidate Frank Hsieh, with 7,658,724 votes, 58.45% of the popular vote for Ma against 5,445,239 votes, 41.55% for Hsieh. Turnout was 76.33%, with 13.2 million votes from 17.3 million eligible voters.[29] The CEC released the final results with 100% of precincts reporting.

One local media commentator analyzed that their primary concern may be more economic than political, and quoted Bill Clinton's famous slogan, "It's the economy, stupid", as an explanation of the landslide victory for Ma.[30] There was a sizeable number of Taiwanese who would prefer maintaining the status quo, a position favoured by Ma when he proclaimed that he would "not push for Taiwan independence or reunification with China if elected".[31]

Results by county

Division Frank Hsieh Ma Ying-jeou Invalid

2008 ROC Presidential Election Result.png

Candidates Percentage
50.0 - 59.9% 60.0 - 69.9% 70.0 - 79.9% 80.0 - 100.0%
Emblem of the Kuomintang.svg Ma
Green Taiwan in White Cross.svg Hsieh
Votes  % Votes  %
Taipei City 593,256 36.97% 1,011,546 63.03% 12,807 418,290
Taipei County 866,915 38.94% 1,359,419 61.06% 21,169 493,084
Keelung City 72,562 32.27% 152,327 67.73% 1,701 79,765
Yilan County 123,700 48.58% 130,951 51.42% 1,991 7,251
Taoyuan County 379,416 35.36% 693,602 64.64% 10,330 314,186
Hsinchu County 73,178 25.98% 208,445 74.02% 2,723 135,267
Hsinchu City 79,634 35.30% 145,930 64.70% 2,036 65,756
Miaoli County 92,795 29.01% 227,069 70.99% 2,974 134,274
Taichung County 353,706 41.16% 505,698 58.84% 8,761 151,992
Taichung City 226,751 38.26% 365,979 61.74% 5,836 139,228
Changhua County 309,134 42.41% 419,700 57.59% 7,558 110,566
Nantou County 109,955 37.97% 179,630 62.03% 2,467 69,675
Yunlin County 199,558 51.53% 187,705 48.47% 3,451 11,853
Chiayi County 166,833 54.44% 139,603 45.56% 2,936 27,230
Chiayi City 72,442 47.61% 79,713 52.39% 1,154 7,271
Tainan County 354,409 56.15% 276,751 43.85% 5,614 77,658
Tainan City 216,815 49.29% 223,034 50.71% 3,843 6,219
Kaohsiung City 440,367 48.41% 469,252 51.59% 7,112 28,885
Kaohsiung County 373,900 51.41% 353,333 48.59% 5,859 20,567
Pingtung County 249,795 50.25% 247,305 49.75% 3,823 2,490
Hualien County 40,003 22.52% 137,604 77.48% 1,970 97,601
Taitung County 29,714 26.68% 81,668 73.32% 977 51,954
Penghu County 18,181 42.07% 25,037 57.93% 363 6,856
Kinmen County 1,710 4.87% 33,384 95.13% 172 31,674
Lienchiang County 220 4.84% 4,329 95.16% 19 4,109


Domestic reactions

Ma Ying-jeou supporters in Taipei in a victory celebration.

In various KMT headquarters throughout Taiwan, celebrations of the party's landslide victory took place. The largest event was located at the Main KMT Headquarters in Taipei. Former Chairman Lien Chan, Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, Chairman Wu Po-hsiung were presented and celebrated with the large crowd. At 7:30 pm, Presidential-elect Ma Ying-jeou came out and spoke about what is expected of his new government when it begins office on May 20, 2008.[citation needed]

Many DPP supporters were very disappointed with the results of the election. Various DPP members went on stage at the party's Central Headquarters in Taipei and apologised to the Taiwanese people. Runner-up Presidential candidate Frank Hsieh stated that the result should be considered a blow to himself rather than a blow to Taiwan's young democracy. He pledged he would never again run for public office. The DPP leaders ended the day by bowing down to the crowd.[32]

After a press conference on March 23 where Ma stated that he will work to open up the Three Links and improve cross-strait relations, Taiwan's stock market saw a large rise. The accumulated index jumped 534 points to 9049. 1100 listed companies saw their share prices rise. Of these, financial stocks all rose to trading limit levels, with transportation companies, speculated to benefit from improved relations with mainland China, also quickly reaching price rise limits. Other sectors that saw strong rises include large conglomerates, real property, electronics and technology.[33]

PRC reactions

Consistently with its silence before the election, the PRC government refrained from commenting directly on the election results, and PRC media, which follows instructions on reporting from the government, has been very quiet as to the result of the elections.[citation needed] Also consistently with its behaviour before the election, the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China commented on the failure of the two United Nations-related referenda held concurrently with the election, stating that the results showed the lack of popular support for independence in Taiwan. The Bureau also expressed optimism for the two governments to work together to maintain cross-strait peace and aid development in future.[34] It is speculated that the mainland government would be pleased with the result.[35]

While also refraining from commenting directly on the results, the People's Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China prominently displayed the election results, including the photos and brief biographies of the winning candidates, on its website.[36] This, speculated Hong Kong's Ming Pao, showed signs of positive interaction between the two governments in future.[37]

Other reactions

Singapore was the first country to send official congratulatory messages about the election results.[38] It has since been the only country to do so together with the United States. China has thus far not responded to these messages.

  •  Singapore: Known to have good relations with both Republic of China and the People's Republic of China, the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement to congratulate Dr Ma Ying-jeou on his election,[39] saying "As a long-standing friend of Taiwan, Singapore will continue to maintain good relations with Taiwan based on our 'One China' policy.' We look forward to better cross-strait relations."[40][41]
  •  United States: President George W. Bush congratulated Ma Ying-jeou on his election victory, saying the United States will "continue to maintain close unofficial ties with the people on Taiwan through the American Institute in Taiwan in accordance with our long standing one China policy, our three Joint Communiqués with the People's Republic of China, and the Taiwan Relations Act."[42]
  •  Canada: Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxime Bernier issued a press release on the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade website congratulating Ma Ying-jeou and also complimented the "smooth and orderly" electoral process, "demonstrating that democracy is laying down strong roots." Furthermore he stated: "I also welcome Ma Ying-jeou’s central election commitment to improve cross-strait relations with China. This is consistent with Canada’s long-standing position that advocates for peaceful dialogue between the concerned parties."[43]

Most other countries chose to issue general statements without specifically congratulating anyone:

  •  Germany: German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated "The German government hails the election in Taiwan. Germany supports the democratic values of Taiwan and the economic development of the island". He also said that he hoped for a "peaceful dialogue" between Taipei and Beijing.[44]
  •  Japan: Foreign Minister Masahiko Kōmura says that "Japan hopes that the issue surrounding Taiwan will be resolved peacefully by direct dialogue between the parties concerned on the Taiwan Straits and that dialogue will resume soon for that purpose", while avoiding to evaluate the election results directly. He further stressed that Japan "intends to maintain Japan-Taiwan relations as a working relationship on a non-governmental basis".[45]
  •  United Kingdom: Foreign Secretary David Miliband issued a statement on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website saying "The successful Presidential elections in Taiwan today are testament to Taiwan's vibrant democracy. The forthcoming change of administration is a real opportunity to renew efforts to improve cross-Strait relations. I hope that the Chinese Government and the new administration will now engage in direct dialogue to resolve differences and find a peaceful solution to the Taiwan question, acceptable to the populations on both sides of the Straits."[46]

See also

Media related to Republic of China presidential election, 2008 at Wikimedia Commons


  1. ^ (traditional Chinese: 中華民國第十二任總統副總統選舉; simplified Chinese: 中华民国第十二任总统副总统选举; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Mín'guó Dì Shí'èr Rèn Zǒngtǒng Fù Zǒngtǒng Xǔanjǔ)
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "USC US-China Institute symposium on Taiwan presidential election". USC US-China Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2011. 
  4. ^ Decisive election win puts KMT back in power
  5. ^ Taiwanese hope of new China chapter
  6. ^ The Nationalists are back in Taiwan
  7. ^
  8. ^ Taipei Times - archives
  9. ^ Adams, Jonathan "Taiwan's 'superstars' to battle it out" Asia Times, Jan 9, 2007
  10. ^ "Frank Hsieh Confirmed as DPP Standard Bearer", The China Post May 8, 2007
  11. ^ 等扁點頭 謝暫緩中部行程, Liberty Times, 10/5/07
  12. ^ "Taiwan Ex-President Lee Severs Ties With President Chen - AFP"
  13. ^ BBC News (2007-05-02): Taiwan opposition picks candidate
  14. ^ 創意組合 蔡英文會是馬英九的副手搭檔嗎? - China Times
  15. ^ "Ma said to pick Siew for 2008 race". The China Post. 2007-06-23. Retrieved 2007-06-23. 
  16. ^ a b "Taiwanese rally ahead of presidential poll". CNN. 2008-05-16. Archived from the original on 2008-05-03. Retrieved 2010-08-16. 
  17. ^ a b c Ma 'never intended' to hide green card — China Post (Thursday, January 31, 2008)
  18. ^ a b c d e f DPP continues attack on Ma Ying-jeou: Green With Envy? — Taipei Times (Thursday, January 31, 2008)
  19. ^ Taipei Times (Saturday, February 16, 2008)
  20. ^ TVBS political opinion released on January 31, 2008
  21. ^ a b Bradsher, Keith (2008-03-32). "China Tensions Could Sway Vote in Taiwan". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-15. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ a b "Tibet focus for Taiwan election". BBC News. 2008-03-21. Retrieved 2010-08-16. 
  24. ^ Mo, Yan-chih; Ko, Shu-ling (2008-03-19). "Ma won't rule out Olympic boycott over Tibet". Taipei Times. p. 1. Retrieved 2010-08-16. 
  25. ^ Cody, Edward (2008-03-23). "Taiwan Voters Elect New President". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-08-16. 
  26. ^ Mo Yan-chih `U paper' accused of being campaign tool, Taipei Times, 4/25/2007
  27. ^ Lee Shuyu "Taiwan: What's in a Name?", World Press Review, 2003
  28. ^ Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China, § 2: "Citizens of the free area of the Republic of China residing abroad may return to the ROC to exercise their electoral rights and this shall be stipulated by law." Absentee ballots were not legally available.
  29. ^ 2008第12任總統副總統選舉
  30. ^ Phoenix TV, March 22, 2008
  31. ^ Latest News
  32. ^ 支持者哭喊「謝長廷不要走」 , Liberty Times
  33. ^ 總統大選慶祝行情 台股噴出越過9000點 (Post-presidential election celebratory market conditions; Taiwan stocks shoot up past 9000 points)
  34. ^ 国台办发言人:搞"台独"不得人心 期盼为两岸和平发展共同努力 (Spokesperson for Taiwan Affairs Bureau: Taiwan independence fails to win popularity; hopes to work together towards peaceful development of both sides of the Taiwan Strait)
  35. ^ China likely to be pleased at outcome of Taiwan's presidential election, referendum votes - The China Post
  36. ^ 台湾地区领导人选举结束 马英九、萧万长获胜 (Taiwan area leader election concludes; Ma Ying-jeou, Vincent Siew victorious)
  37. ^ 港評:兩岸經貿關係將進入雙贏時代 (Hong Kong commentary: cross-strait economic relations to enter mutually beneficial era]
  38. ^ Taiwan awaits change as pro China opposition party wins - Feature : Asia World
  39. ^
  40. ^ Latest News
  41. ^ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore
  42. ^ Statement by the President on Taiwan Election
  43. ^ Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
  44. ^ - Taiwan presses ahead with bid to join United Nations
  45. ^ "Politics/Nation". The Times Of India. 23 March 2008. 
  46. ^ News Foreign & Commonwealth Office

External links

  • USC U.S.-China Institute symposium on the 2008 Taiwan presidential election (results, discussion of the campaigns, implications for U.S.-Taiwan and for cross-strait relations) [2], March 2008.

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