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As 2024 presidential election comes closer, Taiwan faces new political storm.

As counting down to half a year passed 2023, the Taiwanese are now gearing up for the 2024 election, in which the new president will be elected. On March 10, 2023, the Central Election Commission announced to the public that the next presidential election, coinciding Legislator (Legislative Yuen) election, will be dated on January 12, 2024, the early start of the new year, marking how important it is for different Taiwanese political parties to get prepared for it in the remaining half of 2023. In addition, since Taiwan’s constitution marks that the president can only serve for a maximum of two consecutive four-year terms, it means that current president Tsai Ing-wen, can no longer participate and seek a third term.

Yet a new round of political storm has started surrounding accusations of sexual harassment of political members from different parties. The accusation started from the DPP (Democratic Progressive Party), when a former female staffer (Chen Qian Rou, 陳汘瑈) wrote online reporting her unpleasant experiences during a video-making process for the party in September 2022, when the director from the contractor company harassed and groped her. She first reported to the leader of the party’s female department, General Hsu Chia-Tien, yet Hsu did not address her experience, but instead asked her why her not attempted to scream or even jumping off the vehicle.

The blog sparked the public’s fury, leading to Hsu issuing a public apology and announcing her resignation on June 2, 2023, while presidential candidate, current DPP chairman William Lai re-emphasised that gender equality remain the party’s core value and admitted that the incident was handled inappropriately, he apologised to the victim and to the public again, and have announced a new reform, including a zero-tolerance penalty to similar incidents in the future, and a special reporting email that is only accessible by head of sexual equality department Lee Yen-jong, to encourage victims reporting such harassments.

The current ruling DPP is not the only party that faced sexual harassment accusations. On June 6, 2023, the Taipei court adjudicated that current KMT (Kuo Min Tang) legislator Chen Hsueh-Sheng has sexually harassed DPP legislator Fan Yun and must indemnify Fan for eighty thousand NTD. Besides, the two parties that are commonly seen as major candidates for president, third-party candidate Ko Wen-je’s party, the TPP (Taiwan People’s Party), has also faced inner sexual harassment scandals.

Political storms continue to swirl along new scandals being exposed, marking the need for the Taiwanese to continue improving sexual equality conditions in working. In response to such large- scale, multi-party incidents, President Tsai addressed the issue on June 6, 2023, on her Facebook, urging the Taiwanese to continue to recognise the importance of sexual equality and protecting victims, while announcing that she has ordered Executive Yuen head Chen Chien-Jen to adjust government guidelines accordingly, such as reviewing current sexual harassment report system and its efficiency, and drafting new harassment guidelines for workplaces. As the Taiwanese march on to the 2024 presidential election, the first “war” on how different party deal with sexual scandals, might have already started.

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