Watch the Video: Taiwan’s Local Elections: Domestic Politics, Global Implications

The three candidates for Taipei mayor after their televised debate on November 5 (left to right): former KMT Legislator Chiang Wan-an, former Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung of the DPP and former Deputy Taipei Mayor Huang Shan-shan, an independent backed by Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (source: CNA)

The Jamestown Foundation was pleased to host a webinar on “Taiwan’s Local Elections: Domestic Politics, Global Implications” on Tuesday, November 29.

On November 26, Taiwan held local elections. Voters casting their ballots in the mayor/county magistrate and city council elections were focused largely on domestic issues, including the state of the economy, the government response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the viability of the current social safety net. The election also included a national referendum on whether or not to lower the voting age to 18. The performance in the local elections of the three major parties, the governing DPP, the opposition KMT and the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), led by outgoing Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, sets the stage for the presidential and legislative yuan elections in early 2024.

The Jamestown Foundation invited three leading experts to consider the implications of the November 26 election results for Taiwan’s trajectory, including their potential impact on both cross-strait and U.S.-Taiwan relations.


Russell Hsiao
Executive Director, Global Taiwan Institute; Senior Fellow, The Jamestown Foundation

Christina Lai
Junior Research Fellow, Institute of Political Science, Academia Sinica; Lecturer in Global Security Studies, Johns Hopkins University

Kharis Templeman
Research Fellow and Manager of the Project on Taiwan in the Indo-Pacific Region, Hoover Institution; Lecturer at the Center for East Asian Studies, Stanford University


John S. Van Oudenaren
Editor-in-Chief, China Brief; China Program Manager, The Jamestown Foundation

Russell Hsiao is the executive director of the  Global Taiwan Institute (GTI), a senior fellow at The Jamestown Foundation, and adjunct fellow at Pacific Forum. He is a former Penn Kemble fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy and visiting scholar at the University of Tokyo’s Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia. He previously served as a senior research fellow at The Project 2049 Institute and national security fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Prior to those positions he was the editor of China Brief at The Jamestown Foundation from October 2007- to July 2011 and a special associate at the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. While in law school, he clerked within the Office of the Chairman at the Federal Communications Commission and the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Mr. Hsiao received his J.D. and certificate from the Law and Technology Institute at the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law where he served as the editor-in-chief of the Catholic University’s Journal of Law and Technology.

Christina Lai is a junior research fellow in the Institute of Political Science at Academia Sinica, Taiwan. She is also a lecturer in Global Security Studies at Johns Hopkins University. She is interested in U.S.-China Relations, Chinese Foreign Policy, East Asian politics, and Qualitative Research Methods. Her works have appeared in the Journal of Contemporary China, Pacific Review, International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs, Asian Survey, Asia Time, China’s World, Asian Security and China Brief.

Kharis Templeman is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and the manager of the Project on Taiwan in the Indo-Pacific Region. He is also a Lecturer at the Center for East Asian Studies at Stanford University. From 2013-19, he was a social science research scholar in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, where he was the program manager of the Taiwan Democracy and Security Project (TDSP) in the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC). (Prior to fall 2017, the TDSP was known as the Taiwan Democracy Project and was part of the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law). Outside of Stanford, he is a member of the U.S.-Taiwan Next Generation Working Group, and he was a 2019 National Asia Research Program (NARP) Fellow at the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR). He has also served since 2012 as a contributor to the Varieties of Democracy project, and from 2016-18, he was the coordinator of the Conference Group on Taiwan Studies (CGOTS), a Related Group of the American Political Science Association. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Michigan, and a B.A. from the University of Rochester.