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Taiwan: The Consolidation of a Democratic and Distinct Society

Mid-Term Analysis of the Ma Ying-jeou Administration

The Difficulty of Delivering the (Right) Goods
Frank Muyard


Since his election as Taiwan’s president in 2008, Ma Ying-jeou has embarked on an active policy of rapprochement with China, leading to the signing of a string of economic and technical agreements with Beijing that have further liberalised and normalised cross-strait economic relations. But the way this rapprochement has been conducted, coupled with the economic crisis that has struck Taiwan for most of the first two years of Ma’s administration and a series of missteps and mismanagements by the president and the Kuomintang (KMT) government, have generated a crisis of confidence and widespread discontent among the Taiwanese. This has resulted in consistently low approval ratings and several setbacks in regional and by-elections in 2009 and 2010, as well as the resurgence of a reformed opposition under the leadership of Tsai Ing-wen. The discrepancy between Ma’s increasingly apparent Chinese nationalism and the Taiwan-centred national identity of the majority is further indication of a significant disconnect between the KMT administration and the Taiwanese mainstream.

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Electronic reference

Frank Muyard, “Mid-Term Analysis of the Ma Ying-jeou Administration”China Perspectives [Online], 2010/3 | 2010, Online since 01 September 2013, connection on 08 December 2023. URL:; DOI:

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Frank Muyard

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