Update (1/14/2012): the incumbent President Ma Ying-jeou of KMT has announced his victory of winning the Presidential Election. DPP Presidential Candidate Tsai Ing-wen has conceded her defeat and resigned as Chairperson of DPP. Ballot counting has finished, please view here for the election results for both the Presidential Election and the Legislative Election (available in English and also by cites and counties).
The 2012 Presidential and Vice Presidential Election of Taiwan 中華民國總統副總統選舉 is happening on Saturday, January 14, 2012, together with the Legislative Election 立法委員選舉 to elect the 8th Legislative Yuan (voting takes place between 8 am and 4 pm, Taiwan Time, all election results are expected to be available around 10 pm). The 13th-term President and Vice President would be the fifth direct presidential election of the ROC (Taiwan).
According to the Central Election Commission 中央選舉委員會 (an 18-minute introduction video on elections in Taiwan is available on the English site), there are 18,086,455 eligible voters for the 2012 Presidential and Vice Presidential Election, and a 80% voter turnout can be expected. A total of 14,806 voting stations are available this year. (There were 17,321,622 eligible voters for the 2008 Presidential and Vice Presidential Election, with an estimated voter turnout of 76.3%.)
Click the links to see PDF versions of Election Bulletins 選舉公報 for Presidential and Vice Presidential Election 總統副總統選舉, At-Large and Oversea Compatriot Legislator Election 全國不分區及僑居國外國民立法委員 (18,090,295 eligible voters), Plain 平地 (171,548 eligible voters) and High Mountain 高山 (183,398 eligible voters) Aboriginal Legislator Election 原住民立法委員選舉, and Regional Constituent Legislator Election 區域立法委員選舉 (17,625,632 eligible voters; one bulletin for each special municipality, city and county), issued by the Central Election Commission.
The two major political parties in Taiwan, Kuomintang (KMT) 中國國民黨 and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) 民主進步黨 have both recommended their candidates for President and Vice President. 6 other pairs of candidates applied for candidateship by joint signature from electors, but only the pair of candidates from the People First Party (PFP) 親民黨 has reached the required number of signatures needed. Below you can find the three pairs of candidates, in order of random drawing from the Central Election Commission.
Candidates from DPP 民進黨候選人 (Website for campaign)
DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen 蔡英文 was born in Taipei City 臺北市, Taiwan in 1956. She earned her LL.B. from National Taiwan University 國立臺灣大學, M.S.L.S. from Cornell University, and Ph.D. in Law from London School of Economics and Political Science. Her specialization is in international trade law. She taught law at Soochow University 東吳大學 and National Chengchi University 國立政治大學 prior to enter government posts. She has served as the Chairperson of Mainland Affairs Council 大陸委員會主任委員, Chairperson of Consumer Protection Commission 消費者保護委員會主任委員, and Legislator-at-large 不分區立法委員 prior to being appointed Vice-Premier in 2006. Tsai was elected DPP Chairperson in 2008. She is the first female presidential candidate in ROC (Taiwan) history.
DPP Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan 蘇嘉全 was born in Pingtung 屏東, Taiwan in 1956. He earned his B.S. in Fishery Technology from National Taiwan Ocean University 國立臺灣海洋大學 and M.A. in Public Affair Management from National Sun Yat-Sen University 國立中山大學. A founding member of DPP, Su was a school teacher and manager of a private firm before stepping into politics. He was elected as one of DPP’s representatives in the National Assembly in 1986 and member of the Legislative Yuan 立法委員 in 1992. Su served as Magistrate of Pingtung County 屏東縣長 prior to being appointed the Minister of Interior 內政部長 in 2004 and the Minister of Council of Agriculture 農業委員會主任委員 in 2006. He became the DPP Secretary-General in 2009, resigned to run for Mayor of Taichung 臺中市長 in 2010, narrowly lost, and became DPP Secretary-General once more at the end of 2010.
Candidates from KMT 國民黨候選人 (Website for campaign)
Incumbent ROC President and KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou 馬英九 is standing for re-election. Ma was born in Hong Kong in 1950, earned his LL.B. from National Taiwan University 國立臺灣大學, LL.M. from New York University, and S.J.D. from Harvard University. His specialization is in law of the sea and international economic law. Upon returning to Taiwan in 1981, he served as the English interpreter to President Chiang Ching-kuo and later the Deputy Director of the First Bureau of the Presidential Office 總統府第一局副局長. He has served in various governmental agencies, including the Research, Development, and Evaluation Commission 研究發展考核委員會, Mainland Affairs Council 大陸委員會, and the Ministry of Justice 法務部, where he was the Minister. He was also one of KMT’s representative-at-large in the National Assembly in 1991. Prior to being elected President, he was the Mayor of Taipei City 臺北市長 for two terms and the chairman of KMT 國民黨主席 (he resigned in 2007 and was re-elected as chairman in 2009).
Incumbent Premier Wu Den-yih 吳敦義 was born in Nantou 南投, Taiwan in 1948. He earned a B.A. in History from National Taiwan University 國立臺灣大學. Wu has served as a member of Taipei City Council 臺北市議員, Magistrate of Nantou County 南投縣長, Mayor of Kaohsiung City 高雄市長, and member of the Legislative Yuan 立法委員. He was also the Vice Chairman 副主席 and Secretary-General 秘書長 of KMT prior to being appointed the Premier 行政院長 in 2009.
Ma is not running with the incumbent Vice President Vincent Siew Wan-chang 蕭萬長, who may have declined re-running due to health-related reasons.
Candidates from PFP 親民黨候選人 (Website for campaign)
PFP Founding Chairman James Soong Chu-yu 宋楚瑜 was born in Xiangtan 湘潭, Hunan Province 湖南省 in mainland China in 1942. His family fled to Taiwan after the Nationalists were defeated in the Chinese Civil War. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Diplomacy from National Chengchi University 國立政治大學, M.A. in Political Science from University of California, Berkeley, M.S. in Library Science from the Catholic University of America, and Ph.D. in Political Science from Georgetown University. He has served as the Secretary to the Premier 行政院簡任秘書, Secretary to the President 總統府簡任秘書, Director of the Government Information Office 新聞局局長, and was the last appointed-Chairperson of the Taiwan Provincial Government 臺灣省主席 and the first and only directly-elected Governor of Taiwan Province 臺灣省長 prior to the constitutional amendments that streamlined the provincial government 精省 in 1998**. He also served as the KMT Secretary-General 秘書長 from 1989 to 1993. He was expelled from KMT in 2000 after losing the KMT presidential nomination and decided to run as an independent, and founded PFP upon losing the election. He ran as Vice Presidential candidate under KMT Presidential candidate Lien Chan 連戰 in 2004 as a part of a cooperation between KMT and PFP.
National Taiwan University Professor Emeritus Lin Ruey-shiung 林瑞雄 was born in Tainan 臺南, Taiwan in 1938. He earned his M.D. and M.P.H. from National Taiwan University (NTU) 國立臺灣大學, Dr. Med. from Heidelberg University, and Dr.PH from John Hopkins University. His specialization is in cancer epidemiology, human genetics, and global health. He taught at the NTU Institute of Public Health in the 1970s. After obtaining his Dr.PH, he also worked at University of Kansas, University of Maryland, and was a consultant to the Maryland Department of Health prior to returning to Taiwan in 1985. He served as a professor at the NTU Institute of Public Health, and became the founding Dean of the College of Public Health at NTU in 1993. He was made emeritus professor in 2006.
According to the Amendments made to the Constitution of the Republic of China 中華民國憲法增修條文, the President and Vice President of ROC is to be elected directly by citizens over 20 years of age of the free area of the ROC*, and has been so since 1996, when the 9th-term President and Vice President were elected. (Prior to 1996, the President and the Vice President were elected by the National Assembly 國民大會. Read Government of Taiwan 101.)
The Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act 總統副總統選舉罷免法 states that to be a candidate of the election, one has to have lived in the free area of the ROC for at least 6 consecutive months, has set his/her domicile 戶籍 in the ROC for not less than 15 years, is at least 40 years old, and has to be a nature ROC citizen (cannot be restored citizenship, naturalized citizenship). To apply for candidateship, one could either be recommended by a major political party 政黨推薦, or by joint signature from electors 公民連署. A major political party is one that has won at least 5% of the total effective ballots from a latest Presidential and Vice Presidential or Legislative Election. The number of signatures required for joint signature is 1.5% of the total electors in the latest Legislative Election (257,695 signatures for this election), which has to be collected in 45 days. For more information on elections in Taiwan, visit the Central Election Committee 中央選舉委員會.
*According to the Constitution, ROC’s territory technically still includes areas under PRC’s control and Mongolia, and only the National Assembly, which has been abolished, has to power to alter it. Relevant election laws thus state the islands of Taiwan 臺灣, the Penghu islands 澎湖, Kinmen 金門, and Matsu 馬祖 as the free area of the ROC 中華民國自由地區, and the population in which shall elect the President.
**After the streamlining of the provincial government, its administration had been headed by a 9-member council led by a chairman, all appointed by the Executive Yuan 行政院. As the provincial government possesses limit functions and power, the chairperson appointed is usually also a minister without portfolio of the Executive Yuan 行政院政務委員.
Update (12/1/2011): Three presidential election debates 總統大選辯論 will be held and broadcast live on TV in Taiwan and for the first time, online through the PTS New Network and 2012electiontw YouTube channel (debate will be in Mandarin Chinese) as part of a collaboration between 6 major Taiwanese media. All three pairs of candidates (see below) will be participating. The schedules for the debates are as follow (all times are Taiwan time UTC+8):
General Voting Regulations and Information:
In order to obtain the ballots at the voting station, all voters need to bring their personal seal 印章, National ID Card 身分證, and the voting notice 投票通知單 sent by the local branch of election commission.
The personal seal serves as a signature for receiving the ballots, NOT for circling the candidates, for which a separate utensil is provided at the voting station.
It is unlawful to destroy a ballot, or to bring cell phone into the voting station, or to show the ballot publicly before putting it into the voting box.
Depends on the different eligibility for each election, a voter can receive a maximum of three ballots:
-one for Presidential and Vice Presidential Election (pink in color, circle one candidate pair);
-one for Plain Aboriginal Legislator Election (light blue in color, circle one candidate) or High Mountain Aboriginal Legislator Election (light green in color, circle one candidate) or Regional Constituent Legislator Election (light yellow in color, circle one candidate); and
-one for At-Large and Oversea Compatriot Legislator Election (white with color-printed political party logos, circle one political party).