Understanding Taiwanese elections

We received some material at our home today. And it seems the elections are a bit more complicated than what I thought.
I was under the impression that Taiwanese would be voting twice only, once for president and once for legislative yuan. However, looks like there is more than that.

Does anyone knows how does it work in fact?

From what I could understand, there will be votes for:

  • Presidential Candidate
  • Legislative Yuan Candidate (three types: District, Mountain Aborigine and Plains Aborigine)
  • Legislative Yuan Party (two types: Residents in Taiwan and Residents abroad)

Is that correct?

Yep. Three choices/ President, Legislative Yuan District (local constituency, LY (Party). My son tells me if you are registered as aborigine, you can only vote for aboriginal candidate- to vote for a regular district candidate you have to change your household registration. He also says that, strangely, Amis are listed as Plains Aborigines.


I was curious: in Kaohsiung, the whole town is filled with ads for the mayor and his crew. Cars driving around (with people hanging out the top no less) - entire caravans sometimes - billboard after billboard, basically any kind of spam you can imagine.

Is that because this is his hometown or is he going equally aggressively elsewhere?

There is an election in Taiwan every couple of months for things like borough warden and local stuff.

Most Pangcah/Amis tribes live on the plains of Taiwan’s East Coast.

The confusion comes from people mixing the level of sinicization with the geographical location of the tribes. On the West Coast, Pingpu, a.k.s. Plains Aboriginals are generally more sinicized than those living in the mountains. So Plains Aboriginals on the West Coast became synonymous with Aborigines who have lost their tribal identity.

If we stick with the actual definition of plains and mountain, then I think there shouldn’t be an issue with categorizing Pangcah/Amis as Plains Aborigines.

In fact, for the elections, what we would normally define as Pingpu Aborigines aren’t included in the Plains Aborigines category, since the government don’t recognize any of them. That means Sirayans, Taokas, Makataos, Babuzas, and all the other Pingpu Aborigines don’t get to vote for an Aborigines legislator.

The issue then becomes why would the election even have a division for Aborigines based on whether or not they live on plains or in the mountains? Why is that even necessary?

Also, why do some Saisyat, Altayal, Paiwan and Rukai villages get grouped in the Plains Aborigines category? I think where they live can definitely be considered as mountain regions.

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That’s fucked.

How about candidates residing aboard?
Is that a real thing? Why would someone vote for them?

True enough, though the ‘plains’ of Taiwan’s east coast are…not very wide :smiley:
One explanation I’ve heard (though don’t know if it’s true) is that Amis are descended from people who originally spread south to the Philippines, then generations later came back to the east coast of Taiwan, and drove the locals -Paiwan, Bunun, Rukai- out of the coast and low-lying valleys into the mountains.

Linguistically the Pangcah is much closer related to Basay and Kavalan, and they are group under East Formosan languages.

I think that version is a repackaging several things.

  1. Many coastal Aborigines have a legend about their ancestors arriving at their current location by boat. Often across the sea, and often combined with a flood myth. In many cases, the ancestral home island is called Sanasai or Sansai.

  2. Han Taiwanese and Japanese in the early 1900s like to claim that all Aborigines are Malays that came to Taiwan. At the time people assumed the ancestral homeland of Austronesians is Malaysia, so if there are Austronesians in Taiwan, they’ve probably came from Malaysia. That of course has been proven false, and Taiwan is the home of Austronesian languages. However, that theory was so popular among Han Chinese and the Japanese was mainly because it legitimizes them from taking away Aborigines lands, as Malays are also outsiders that to Taiwan just a little bit earlier. Such claims can be found in early Taiwanese history books, such as by Taiwan Tongshi by Lian Heng, grand father of Lian Chan.

I’m not denying there have been contacts between Taiwan and the Philippines. I think there were extensive contact and there are archeological evidence for that. However, there probably wasn’t a reverse transmission of a large group of people.

If the “president” doesn’t have veto power, what power does she have?

She has the right of reconsideration

What does that mean?

She can tell the executive yuan to tell the legislative yuan to reconsider points in a bill passed by the legislative yuan. Technically it’s a veto to finer points in a bill, as long as she is willing to repeatedly use this power when the legislative yuan wouldn’t budge.

Can it be overridden?

No, a passed law won’t go into effect until the president signed it.

So it’s like a line item veto/filibuster thing?

I’d call that the ultimate veto.

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Maybe not really.
I guess a veto would mean that the law was not passed and the whole process works have to be restarted if they want to get it approved by the next president.
The current way just mean that it will be pending until done president decides to sign it.

Or the CY impeaches the president and installs a new one who passes it, right?

Yeah, unless there’s a really good reason for exercising the right of reconsideration, otherwise abusing it would quickly waste all your political capital and seem incredible undemocratic while doing it.