This book explores a relatively uncharted area of democratic transitions: the empirical study of intensely politicized transitional societies. In particular, it addresses the problems of prolonged democratic transitions that occur when a one-party state has been incompletely dismantled. Taiwan’s gradual process of democratization has been celebrated as one of the most successful cases of political transformation. However, the process was not completed after political liberalization, the advent of multi-party politics and peaceful handover of power. Since 2000, when the first non-Kuomintang president was elected, Taiwan has been marked by protracted political struggles together with an intense politicization
of society. In Taiwan, many of the political practices associated
with representative democracy could even undermine the future sustainability of democratic politics because of the ways in which they are pursued. Election campaigning, referenda, street demonstrations, vote mobilization, opinion polls and political debate have all been distorted in the hands of intensely partisan politicians.