I’m really too exhausted to write anything in depth about the election results. So instead of a full recap, let me just touch on diversity and pluralism. Taiwan has set new highs in both the proportion of women and indigenous legislators.
By my count, 43 of the 113 legislators will be women. That makes 38.1%. Around the world, the top three countries for percentage of women in the national parliament are Rwanda, Bolivia, and Cuba. Um, how do I say this politely? Those are not exactly the countries we want to emulate. Let’s restrict the comparison to only countries that are rated as “free” in the latest Freedom House report. Of these, Taiwan now places 10th in the world in the proportion of women in its national legislature. Moreover, of the top 20 countries, only Norway, Germany, and now Taiwan also have a female head of government. This places Taiwan as a world leader for gender equality in the political realm. Moreover, it is notable that Tsai is not from a political family. Unlike almost all other Asian female leaders, Tsai did not inherit her power. In fact, Tsai is not unique among female politicians in Taiwan. Former VP Annette Lu, Kaohsiung mayor Chen Chu, and vice-speaker and erstwhile KMT presidential nominee Hung Hsiu-chu also rose to very powerful positions in the political structure, and none of them came from a political family.
|Rank||Country||% Female||Female Head of Government|
This has been a gradual process. Women have slowly built their share of seats over the past 25 years. This gives me confidence that women are winning real power and that those gains are sustainable.
|district||list||all women||total seats||% women|
This year is also a milestone for indigenous representation. In addition to the six legislators elected from indigenous districts, two others were elected on the DPP and NPP party lists. Eight indigenous legislators is not a record in the absolute sense, but does mark a new high in the percentage of seats held by indigenous legislators.
|district||list||all indigenous||total seats||% indigenous|
In most countries, if there are seats reserved for indigenous people, the goal is to allow them to be represented in numbers proportional to their share of the overall population. In other words, the goal is to prevent them from being underrepresented. Taiwan has made a different choice. In Taiwan, voters with indigenous status make up about 1.5% of the population, but they now hold over7% of the seats in the national legislature. Taiwan has chosen to significantly over-represent indigenous people.
This effort to give voice to women and minorities speaks to the pride that Taiwanese have in their diverse and pluralistic society.
On a related note, the DPP has set a party record for performance in indigenous districts, and by quite a margin.
|DPP||valid||vote share||seats won|
Since we’re talking about DPP records, they set a new high for presidential elections in all of the 22 cities and counties. In fact, they beat their previous high for any type of election (presidential, mayoral, legislative) in 11 of the 22 cities and counties.
|New Taipei||2004||46.9||2001 mayor||51.3||54.8||**|
|Hsinchu County||2004||35.9||1989 mayor||51.1||42.5||**|
|Chiayi County||2004||62.8||2014 mayor||63.1||65.4||**|
|Hsinchu City||2004||44.9||1997 mayor||56.1||51.2||*|
|Chiayi City||2004||56.1||2004 prez||56.1||59.9||**|
*DPP record high for presidential races; ** DPP record high for any election
I’ll dig more into the results over the next few days. For now, let me just say that this was a tremendous electoral victory for the DPP and a devastating defeat for the KMT.