Winning the elections was the easy part. Now president-elect Tsai Ing-wen needs to reach across the political spectrum to build a truly unified administration
The bluster and inevitable scorched-earthness of the Jan. 16 elections are at long last behind us. As expected, Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has been elected president, and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has gained a majority in the Legislative Yuan, a first in Taiwan’s history. For all its impressiveness, the DPP’s decisive electoral successes last month were the easy part; the real work will begin on May 20, when the new administration starts governing. If it is to accomplish anything worthy of the mandate that it has been given, the Tsai administration will need to do everything it can to encourage unity — not only in its ranks but, far more importantly, across Taiwan. And that needs to start now, while Tsai puts together her future administration.
For far too long Taiwan has been a house divided, locked in a seemingly interminable conflict pitting “greens” against “blues.” Although civil society managed in recent years to transcend that political-ethnic divide by aiming for the common denominator of civic values, if Taiwan is to move forward as a nation a similar maturing will have to occur at the institutional level. In other words, political parties and government institutions must start reflecting the desires of the society in whose name they govern and leave behind the zero-sum approach to politics that, while conferring tactical benefits, will never yield dividends strategically.
My article, published today in Thinking Taiwan, continues here (photo by the author).