Elections in Taiwan are held on national and local level. On the national level, the head of state, the President, and members of the national legislature, the Legislative Yuan, are elected directly by citizens of Taiwan. National elections are held every four years.
Local self-government bodies including special municipalities, counties, cities, townships, county-controlled cities, indigenous districts and villages have their own elections. The heads as well as legislators of the self-government bodies are all directly elected by citizens who have registered their residency in the respective territory. Local elections are held every four years at intervals between national elections.
Elections are supervised by the Central Election Commission (CEC), an independent agency under the central government, with the municipality, county and city election commissions under its jurisdiction. The minimum voting age is twenty years. Voters must satisfy a four-month residency requirement before being allowed to cast a ballot.
Elections were held for the first time in Taiwan by the Japanese colonial government on 22 November 1935, electing half of the city and township councillors.The other half were appointed by the prefectural governors. Only men aged 25 and above and who had paid a tax of five yen or more a year were allowed to vote, which was only 28,000 out of the 4 million population. The elections were held again in 1939, but the 1943 election was cancelled due to the second world war.
The government of the Republic of China, led by Kuomintang, retreated to Taiwan in 1949 after losing the Chinese Civil War with the Communist Party of China. At that time, the Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion was enforced and largely restricted civil and political rights including voting right of the Taiwanese people. In addition, the Martial law in Taiwan also prohibited most forms of oppositions. From 1949 to 1990, the President was selected by the National Assembly first elected in 1947 and which had never been reelected since. The Legislative Yuan also had not been reelected since 1948. The provincial Governor and municipal Mayors were appointed by the central government. Direct elections were only held for local governments at the county level, and for legislators at the provincial level.
From the 1990s, a series of democratic reforms were implemented in Taiwan. The Additional Articles of the Constitution were adopted to grant full civil and political rights to the Taiwanese people (officially the people of the Free area of the Republic of China). Under the Additional Articles, the President and the national legislators are to be elected directly. The first congressional elections on Taiwan were held in 1991 for National Assembly and 1992 for Legislative Yuan. The first election for provincial Governors and municipality Mayors was in 1994. Most importantly, Taiwan held the first direct election of the President and Vice President in 1996.
The provincial government was reconstructed as a subsidiary of the central government in 1998 and elections for governor and provincial legislators were terminated. The National Assembly ceased to be convened regularly in 2000 and was abolished in 2005. The number of members of the Legislative Yuan was reduced to 113 from 2008.
In recent years, the government is further working on synchronizing the date of the elections into two key dates: national elections and local elections.
- The national elections elect the President and Vice President as well as the 113 Legislators.
- The local elections elect 11,130 local officials who serve in self-government bodies.
Types and schedules of election
|Type||National elections||Local elections|
|Executive positions||President and Vice President||Municipal Mayors
Chiefs of indigenous districts in municipalities
County Magistrates (City Mayors)
Chiefs of village (borough)
|Legislative seats||Legislators||Municipal Councilors
Councilors of indigenous districts in municipalities
County (City) Councilors
|Last date of||Elections||16 January 2016||29 November 2014|
|Inaugurations||1 February 2016 (Legislators)
20 May 2016 (President and Vice President)
|25 December 2014|
|Next date of||Elections||January 2020||November 2018|
|Inaugurations||February 1, 2020 (Legislators)
May 20, 2020 (President and Vice President)
|December 25, 2018|
List of elections by date
The full election list since the first direct election of the President and Vice President.
|Year||National elections||Local elections||Referendums|
|Presidential||Congressional||Municipal||County and city|
|1996||President 1996||National Assembly 1996|
|1998||Legislator 1998||Municipal 1998|
|2001||Legislator 2001||Local 2001|
|2004||President 2004||Legislator 2004||Referendum 2004|
|2005||National Assembly 2005||Local 2005|
|2008||President 2008||Legislator 2008||Referendums 2008 (Jan, March)|
|2012||President 2012||Legislator 2012|
|2016||President 2016||Legislator 2016|
|2020||President 2020||Legislator 2020|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Elections in Taiwan.|
- Central Election Commission (Taiwan)
- List of political parties in Taiwan
- Administrative divisions of Taiwan
- Politics of Taiwan
- History of Taiwan
- History of the Republic of China
- Electoral calendar
- Electoral system