Browse the listing below to find government information for Taiwan, including flags, leaders,
and constitution information. Factrover also has complete information on Taiwan at its
Taiwan Country Page.
Type: Multi-party democracy. An opposition candidate for the first time won the presidential election on March 18, 2000. The peaceful transfer of office from the Kuomintang to the Democratic Progressive Party validated Taiwan's democratic political system. There are four major parties, with the DPP holding a plurality of seats in the legislature. Constitution: December 25, 1947; last amended 2000.
Branches (Yuan): Executive, Legislative, Judicial, Control, Examination.
Major political parties: Democratic Progressive Party (DPP); Kuomintang (KMT--Nationalist Party); People First Party (PFP); Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU)
Suffrage: Universal over 20 years of age.
Central budget proposed (FY 2003): 45.6.
Defense (2003): 16.82 % of entire budget.
Flag: Red field with white sun in blue rectangle in upper left corner.
Government of Taiwan
The authorities in Taipei exercise control over Taiwan, Kinmen, Matsu, and the Penghus (Pescadores) and several of the smaller islands. Taiwan's two major cities, Taipei and Kaohsiung, are centrally administered municipalities. At the end of 1998, the Constitution was amended to make all counties and cities directly administered by the Executive Yuan. From 1949 until 1991, the authorities on Taiwan claimed to be the sole legitimate government of all of China, including the mainland. In keeping with that claim, when the Nationalists moved to Taiwan in 1949, they re-established the full array of central political bodies, which had existed on the mainland. While much of this structure remains in place, the authorities on Taiwan in 1991 abandoned their claim of governing mainland China, stating that they do not "dispute the fact that the P.R.C. controls mainland China."
The first National Assembly, elected on the mainland in 1947 to carry out the duties of choosing the president and amending the constitution, was re-established on Taiwan when the KMT moved. Because it was impossible to hold subsequent elections to represent constituencies on the mainland, representatives elected in 1947-48 held these seats "indefinitely." In June l990, however, the Council of Grand Justices mandated the retirement, effective December 1991, of all remaining "indefinitely" elected members of the National Assembly and other bodies.
The second National Assembly, elected in 1991, was composed of 325 members. The majority were elected directly; 100 were chosen from party slates in proportion to the popular vote. This National Assembly amended the Constitution in 1994, paving the way for the direct election of the president and vice president that was held in March 1996. The National Assembly retained the authority to amend the constitution, recall or impeach the president and the vice president, and ratify certain senior-level presidential appointments. In April 2000, the members of the National Assembly voted to permit their terms of office to expire without holding new elections. They also determined that such an election would be called in the event the National Assembly is needed to decide a presidential recall or a constitutional amendment. The president is both leader of Taiwan and commander in chief of its armed forces. The president has authority over the five administrative branches (Yuan): Executive, Legislative, Control, Judicial, and Examination. The president appoints the premier, the head of the Executive Yuan. The Executive Yuan comprises the premier and the cabinet members who are responsible for policy and administration.
The main lawmaking body, the Legislative Yuan (LY), was originally elected in the late 1940s in parallel with the National Assembly. The first LY had 773 seats and was viewed as a "rubber stamp" institution. The second LY was elected in 1992. The third LY, elected in 1995, had 157 members serving 3-year terms. The fourth LY, elected in 1998, was expanded to 225 members. The LY has greatly enhanced its standing in relation to the Executive Yuan and has established itself as an important player on the central level. Along with increasing strength and size this body is beginning to reflect the recently liberalized political system. In the 1992 and 1995 elections, the main opposition party--the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)--challenged the KMT dominance of the Legislature. In both elections the DPP won a significant share of the LY seats, and the KMT held only half the seats in the LY. The DPP won the 2001 LY election with 88 seats, followed by the KMT with 66. The PFP has 45 seats, while the Taiwan Solidarity Union has 13 and all other parties 13.
As the National Assembly took action in 1994 to allow for the popular election of the president, the LY in 1994 passed legislation to allow for the direct election of the governor of Taiwan Province and the mayors of Taipei and Kaohsiung Municipalities. These elections were held in December 1994, with the KMT winning the governor and Kaohsiung mayor posts, and the DPP winning the Taipei mayor's position. In 1998, the KMT's Ma Ying-jeou wrestled back control of the mayorship of Taipei from the opposition DPP's most prominent figure Chen Shui-bian. In the same elections, however, the DPP's Frank Hsieh managed to defeat Kaoshiung's KMT incumbent.
In a move to streamline the administration, the position of elected governor and many other elements of the Taiwan Provincial Government were eliminated at the end of 1998. In November 1997 local elections, the DPP won 12 of the 23 county magistrate and city mayor contests to the KMT's 8, outpolling the KMT for the first time in a major election.
The Control Yuan (CY) monitors the efficiency of public service and investigates instances of corruption. The 29 Control Yuan members are appointed by the president and approved by the National Assembly; they serve 6-year terms. In recent years, the Control Yuan has become more activist, and it has conducted several major investigations and impeachments.
The Judicial Yuan (JY) administers Taiwan's court system. It includes a 16-member Council of Grand Justices (COGJ) that interprets the constitution. Grand Justices are appointed by the president, with the consent of the National Assembly, to 9-year terms.
The Examination Yuan (ExY) functions as a civil service commission and includes two ministries: the Ministry of Examination, which recruits officials through competitive examination, and the Ministry of Personnel, which manages the civil service. The president appoints the Examination Yuan's head.