Last Saturday, voters in Taiwan went to the polls in an election widely seen as a referendum on President Tsai Ing-wen. Her party, the Democratic Progressive Party, suffered numerous electoral defeats in crucial local races. The opposition party, the Kuomintang, capitalized on voter frustration with a stagnant economy, rocky relations with the Mainland, and a conservative base that was energized by a referendum on the legalization of same-sex marriage. The results have rejuvenated the Kuomintang's political standing and have raised concerns about President Tsai's reelection chances in 2020. The National Committee convened a teleconference call on November 30 with Taiwan experts Jacques deLisle and Margaret Lewis to discuss the ramifications of the election results for Taiwan, cross-Strait ties, and U.S.-Taiwan relations. Professor deLisle called in from Taipei, and Professor Lewis has recently returned from a year in Taiwan.   

Jacques deLisle is the Stephen A. Cozen Professor of Law, professor of political science, director of the Center for East Asian Studies, deputy director of the Center for the Study of Contemporary China, and co-director of the Center for Asian Law at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the director of the Asia Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. His writing focuses on China’s engagement with the international legal order, domestic legal reform in China, and Taiwan’s international status and cross-Strait relations.

He is the co-editor of China’s Global Engagement (2017), New Media, the Internet, and a Changing China (2016); China’s Challenges (2014); Political Changes in Taiwan under Ma Ying-jeou (2014); and China Under Hu Jintao (2005). His work has appeared in Orbis, theAmerican Journal of International Law, American Society of International Law Proceedings, Journal of Contemporary China, and many other law reviews, foreign affairs, and policy journals. He is a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.  

Margaret Lewis is a professor of law at Seton Hall University. Professor Lewis’s research focuses on law in mainland China and Taiwan with an emphasis on criminal justice. She has been a Fulbright senior scholar at National Taiwan University, a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Public Intellectuals Program fellow with the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, and a delegate to the U.S.-Japan Foundation's U.S.-Japan Leadership Program. She has participated in the State Department’s Legal Experts Dialogue with China, has testified before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and is a consultant to the Ford Foundation.  

Before joining Seton Hall, Professor Lewis served as a senior research fellow at NYU School of Law’s U.S.-Asia Law Institute. Following graduation from law school, she worked as an associate at the law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton in New York City. She then served as a law clerk for the Honorable M. Margaret McKeown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Diego.