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One China, One Taiwan

Little Chance of a Red Future for Taipei

Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (C) is joined by other candidates as the greet supporters during a campaign rally in Xihu, Taiwan January 12, 2016. Damir Sagolj / Reuters

On January 16, the people of Taiwan will go to the polls to elect a new president and new legislative representatives. Like the United States, Taiwan has a two-term limit on the presidency, which means that the incumbent president, Ma Ying-jeou, must step down. And like the 2016 U.S. elections, the 2016 Taiwan elections are wide open.

Ma’s governing Kuomintang (KMT) party enters these elections in complete disarray. Its spring 2015 presidential primaries resulted in the nomination of a senior legislator named Hung Hsiu-chu, its first-ever female candidate for president. But then in an unprecedented move, she was displaced by party chairman Eric Chu at a special party convention held on October 17. Chu went on to claim Hung’s former place at the top of the ticket.

Taiwan's ruling Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang (KMT), chairman and presidential candidate Eric Chu (C) gestures during a rally ahead of Taiwan's election on January 16 in Taipei, January 9, 2016.
Taiwan's ruling Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang (KMT), chairman and presidential candidate Eric Chu gestures during a rally ahead of Taiwan's election on January 16 in Taipei, January 9, 2016. Olivia Harris / Reuters
Chu is widely viewed as a placeholder candidate with a mandate not so much to win January's election as to prevent serious losses for the

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