Elections in Taiwan

There are eleven types of elections in Taiwan which, since 2012, have been unified into general and local elections, each held every four years, typically in January and November respectively. There may also be by-elections. Electoral systems include first-past-the-post, proportional representation, single non-transferable voting, and a parallel mixture of the above.

General elections are held to elect the president and vice president jointly, and the 113 members of the Legislative Yuan. Local elections are held to elect magistrates of counties, mayors of special municipalities, cities, townships and county-administered cities, chief administrators of indigenous districts and village chiefs. Legislative Yuan and local elections are regional; citizens vote based on their registered address.

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.[1]


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.[2][3][4]

The government of the Republic of China, led by the Kuomintang, retreated to Taiwan Island 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 opposition. In the eight elections starting from the 1948 Republic of China presidential election in Nanking (later known as Nanjing) to the 1990 Taiwan presidential election, 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.

Current types electionsEdit

Presidential electionsEdit

Presidential elections are held to jointly elect the president and vice president by first-past-the-post.

Legislative Yuan electionsEdit

Legislative elections are held to elect the 113 members of the Legislative Yuan by parallel voting:

Local electionsEdit

Local elections are held to elect:

  • Mayors of special municipalities
  • Magistrates of counties and mayors of cities
  • Councillors in special municipality councils
  • Councillors in county and city councils
  • Mayors of townships/cities
  • Representatives in township/city councils
  • Chief administrators of mountain indigenous districts
  • Representatives in mountain indigenous district councils
  • Village chiefs

This is the official classification, hence local elections are also known as nine-in-one elections. A resident of a county or indigenous district is eligible for five types of votes, whereas a resident of a city or non-indigenous district of a special municipality is eligible for three. Magistrates, mayors, chief administrators, and village chiefs are elected by first-past-the-post. Councillors and council representatives are elected by single non-transferable voting in multi-member constituencies.


In order to vote in Taiwan, one must be a national of Republic of China who will be 20 years or older on the day before the election.

For presidential elections, the voter must have once lived in the Taiwan area for six consecutive months or longer. Residents of the area at the time of the election are automatically registered while those living abroad must apply.

For legislative and local elections, the voter must have been living in the associated electoral district for four consecutive months or longer at the time of the election. For legislative elections, the electoral district for indigenous and party-list votes is nationwide. Eligibility for the three types of votes is evaluated separately.

Upcoming elections and referendumsEdit

For past elections, see respective articles.

  • 2021 referendum
  • 2022 local
  • 2023 referendum (if there is a proposal approved)
  • 2024 presidential and legislative

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ ":::Central Election Commission:::". 英文版. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  2. ^ 打狗高雄|歷史與現在 (22 November 2015). 臺灣第一戰:1935年臺灣首次選舉 - 打狗高雄|歷史與現在. takao.tw.
  3. ^ Rigger, Shelley (3 May 2002). "Politics in Taiwan: Voting for Reform". Routledge – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Tsai, Hui-yu Caroline (13 January 2009). "Taiwan in Japan's Empire-Building: An Institutional Approach to Colonial Engineering". Routledge – via Google Books.

External linksEdit