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4 - After Hegemony: State Capacity, the Quality of Democracy and the Legacies of the Party-State in Democratic Taiwan

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 May 2020

Aurel Croissant
Affiliation:
Universität Heidelberg
Olli Hellmann
Affiliation:
University of Waikato, New Zealand
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Summary

At the beginning of the democratic era, the state in Taiwan had at least four distinct features that set it apart from the other cases in this volume: a ‘bifurcation’ between a high capacity, high autonomy central government and deeply socially embedded local governments, a fused ‘party-state’ regime, a vibrant but fragmented and shallowly rooted civil society sector and a business community with only limited influence over the central government. These features have together shaped a distinct kind of democratic political regime in Taiwan. On the positive side, Taiwan’s civilian leaders enjoy uncircumscribed authority over all parts of the state, national elections now confer on their winners the fully effective right to rule, elections are well-managed, the party system is highly institutionalized and the full array of political rights are broadly respected. On the less positive side, Taiwan’s civil rights regime continues to suffer from weak legal foundations, and horizontal accountability has been incompletely institutionalized despite the regime’s formal separation of powers. Thus, Taiwan’s highly developed hegemonic party-state appears at best to have had no effect on and, at worst, actively undermined the establishment of a robust rule of law and protections for civil liberties.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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