Taiwan is holding presidential elections in January, that look likely to make history: the nominees of the two major parties – two of the three leading candidates – are women. The current front-runner, with a strong lead in the polls, is the 59-year old Tsai Ing-wen of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, who lost a presidential bid in 2012. Her chief opponent is the current vice-president, 67-year old Hung Hsiu-chu, a member of Kuomintang, the Nationalist Party which has long ruled the country. To many observers, it comes as no surprise that two women are competing for the nation’s highest office: Taiwan has one of the world’s best track records when it comes to electing women to political office. While there are many reasons for this, scholars generally point to the use of quotas that ensure women are represented in all areas of government as the main factor, causing a rise in women’s political participation and making the Taiwanese people familiar with “female faces in politics.”
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