Conceding to Thrive - The University of Nottingham

Conceding to Thrive:
Taiwan’s Alternative Path to Democracy
Joseph Wong
Halbert Professor of Innovation
Canada Research Chair & Professor, Political Science
Director, Asian Institute
University of Toronto
The preferences of party cadres are
much simpler than those of [military]
officers. Like democratic politicians, they
simply want to hold office.
-Barbara Geddes, 1999
[T]here is a strong wind of change blowing
over the country …. the day when freedoms
and human rights could be slighted in the
name of economic growth and national
security has ended. The day when
repressive force and torture in secret
chambers were tolerated is over.
-Roh Tae-Woo, 1988
[T]he times are changing, the environment
is changing, the tide is also changing.
-Chiang Ching-Kuo, 1986
Dominant parties can be incentivized to
concede democratization from a position
of exceptional strength and not only from
a position of extreme weakness.
-Slater and Wong, 2013
1. Antecedent Strengths
stability confidence
victory confidence
Conceding democracy does not
mean conceding defeat.
2. Ominous Signals
bittersweet spot
3. Legitimation Strategies
conceding reform
Developmental State
Limited Elections
Tangwai mobilization
The KMT ultimately chose to concede
democracy because the party was in a position
not of desperation, but of fairly strong
confidence that democratic concession would
ensure both the KMT’s electoral victory and the
maintenance of stability.
-Slater and Wong, 2013
KMT’s Victory Confidence
KMT’s Stability Confidence
The Paradox of Conceding-to-Thrive
When a ruling party enjoys substantial
incumbent capacity, this not only increases
its ability to sustain authoritarian rule, but
can lessen its imperative to do so.
-Slater and Wong, 2013
(since 1986)
Enduring Dominant Parties: 35
Competitive (Major): 18
Competitive (Minor): 15
Obsolete / Defunct: 15
Candidate Case:
China’ CCP
Apex of power?
Bittersweet spot?
Hurtled through?
[email protected]
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