The first quarter of 2008 brought an anxiously-anticipated and welcome end to the highly contentious presidential election campaign in Taiwan. It is widely believed that the results of the March 22, 2008 presidential election are likely to usher in a new period in Taiwan politics, with reduced tensions in the relationships with China and with Washington. The consolidation of legislative and executive powers in the Kuomintang (KMT) is also expected to lead to less political gridlock and more forward momentum on reforms.
While the new Cabinet is still being appointed as this is written, it is clear that the new government under President Ma Ying-Jeou -with his significant margin of popular support and control of three-fourths of the legislature – should be able to concentrate on his two-prong policies of economic recovery and national security through cross-Strait reconciliation.
This report will offer a brief survey of the significant political events in the past three months, together with an overview of the major developments that have dominated Taiwan’s national security scene during this period. The analysis will also explore how the results of the presidential election are expected to influence Taiwan’s defense and national security policies going forward.