With two years left in the second and last term of Ma Ying-jeou’s presidency, Taiwan has been embroiled in a political crisis since March 18 that will have serious, and possibly long-lasting, repercussions on the dynamics within Ma’s Kuomintang (KMT) and the island’s relationship with China. After a nearly three-week-long standoff at Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan, a surprise intervention by Speaker Wang Jin-pyng—who has promised to meet one of the key demands made by the Sunflower Movement—has led to an announcement by the activists that they would vacate the legislature on April 10 and bring to an end one of the island’s most serious political crises in recent years. Despite the apparent success of Wang’s move, his intervention risks reigniting a factional feud within the KMT and is no guarantee that the government will proceed in a way that meets the expectations of the movement, which has vowed to punish the KMT in future elections if the Ma administration fails to deliver.
At the heart of the controversy lies the Cross-Strait Services Trade Agreement (CSSTA) signed between Taiwanese and Chinese negotiators in Shanghai in June 2013.
My analysis, published today in China Brief at the Jamestown Foundation, continues here. (Photo by the author)