« Taiwan Journal of Political Science No.21Publish: 2004/09

From Confrontation to Cooperation: The Change of Local Factions in Taichung County

Author: Yeh-lih Wang, Chun-mu Tsai

Abstract / Chinese PDF Download

In Taiwan, local factions have enormous impacts on local politics. In the era of KMT’s  long-term  one-party  authoritarian  rule,  the  “Red”  and  “Black”  factions  of the Taichung County stood in opposition of each other. It became a tradition for the two to take turn heading the county government. This tradition can be described as a classic example of “bifactionalism” in Taiwan’s local politics. After the change of ruling party began in local governments, the interactions between the local factions of Taichung County began to change substantively as well. After the DPP took over the  county  government  subsequent  to  the  13th  county  commissioner  election  in 1997, major changes emerged in the local political ecology of the Taichung County. Although  the  DPP  controlled  the  county  government,  in  the  county  council  the KMT, which had allied with the local factions, still enjoyed an absolute majority. Thereafter,  the  clear  polarization  between  the  “Red”  and  “Black”  factions  was gradually  disappearing.  What  replaced  it  is  a  complicated  web  of  intricate relationships between the local factions and the newly rising political factions. On the  other  hand,  more  sub-political  groups  began  to  appear  in  the  county  council, turning  the  interactions  between  county  government  and  county  council  from  the past  inter-faction  competition  into  a  more  complicated  inter-party  rivalry  further confounded  by  the  involvement  and  competition  of  sub  political  groups.  By December of 2001 when the KMT came back into power in the county government, the “unified government” under the KMT rule faced a relationship with the county council  entirely  different  from  the  one  faced  by  “divided  government”  under  the DPP rule. Henceforward, the Taichung County government formally entered the era of   “Red-Black   joint   governance.”   From   confrontation   to   cooperation,   from bifactionalism  to  the  rise  of  the  sub-political  groups,  the  relationship  between  the local   factions   and   the   county   government   and   county   council   has   indeed experienced some major changes.

Keywords:government-council relationship、local factions、sub-political groups、taichung county