Government in Taiwan includes the presidency and five major branches, or Yuan. By end of 2010, the country had five special municipalities, 14 counties and three county-level municipalities.
The president is the head of the state and is the country’s representative for matters concerning international relations. He and the vice-president are elected for a term of four years.
The government includes eight ministries and 29 commissions and agencies. The heads of these ministries and agencies form the Executive Yuan Council or the Cabinet. They are elected by the Premier, who also heads the Executive Yuan Council.
Currently, Ma Ying-jeou is the president of Nationalist Party, and was elected in 2008. The major political parties in Taiwan include:
- The Kuomintang or the Nationalist Party
- Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)
- Non-Partisan Solidarity Union
- The People First Party
- The Taiwan Solidarity Union
(Source: gio.gov.tw, BBC)
The government in Taiwan is based on a multi-party democracy framework, which means that the head of the state is the representative of the people, chosen by the people and is bound to govern by the constitutional law.
Taiwan’s economic freedom score is 70.8, making its economy the 25th freest in the 2011 Index. Taiwan is ranked 7th of 41 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The country’s score is better than the world and regional average. Furthermore, its score is 0.4 points higher than the previous year, when it was ranked 27th globally.
The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is a survey to measure the perceived level of corruption across countries worldwide. Taiwan is ranked 33rd on the index indicating relatively low levels of corruption in public departments.
The country’s CPI ranking improved from 2009, when it was ranked 37th with a score of 5.6, indicating a slight decrease in the corruption levels.
Freedom of information
Media in Taiwan is among the freest in Asia. Many of the newspaper agencies are privately owed.
In 2005, the government adopted the Freedom of Information Law. The Freedom of Government Information Law allows government data including treaties, diplomatic documents, laws, administrative plans and reports, and budgets made available to the public on request.
In 2010, the ban on government ownership of shares in broadcast media firms was relaxed, allowing an indirect 10% stake in these companies. Earlier, the government, political parties and the military were totally banned from holding shares in media broadcasting firms.
Taiwan, with a score of 14.5, is ranked 48th on the World Press Freedom Index 2010.
As of June 2010, Taiwan had more than 2,000 registered newspapers. Major newspapers include:
- Central Daily News
- United Daily News
- China Times
- The Liberty Times
- Taiwan News
- Taipei Times
- The China Post
In Taiwan, Judicial Yuan is the highest judicial body and supervises the judicial administration of:
- Supreme Court
- Supreme Administrative Court
- Institute for Judicial Professionals of the Judicial Yuan
- Commission on the Disciplinary Sanctions of Functionaries
- Taiwan High Court
- Taipei High Administrative Court
- Taichung High Administrative Court
- Kaohsiung Administrative High Court
- Intellectual Property Court
- Fuchien High Court Kinmen Branch Court
- Fuchien Kinmen District Court
- Fuchien Lienchiang District Court
The Supreme Court is the highest court of justice. It is divided into 8 civil divisions and 12 criminal divisions. The country has 20 district courts which are divided into civil, criminal, and summary divisions. There is also a high court which looks after civil and criminal cases.
The Judicial Yuan has fifteen justices, including the president and the vice president of the Judicial Yuan. The president of the Judicial Yuan is responsible for administrative affairs. These justices are nominated and appointed by the country’s President. The consent of the Legislative Yuan is required for their appointment.