The Most Famous

POLITICIANS from Taiwan

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This page contains a list of the greatest Taiwanese Politicians. The pantheon dataset contains 19,576 Politicians, 17 of which were born in Taiwan. This makes Taiwan the birth place of the 108th most number of Politicians behind Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Tanzania.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Taiwanese Politicians of all time. This list of famous Taiwanese Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Taiwanese Politicians.

Photo of Tsai Ing-wen

1. Tsai Ing-wen (b. 1956)

With an HPI of 68.22, Tsai Ing-wen is the most famous Taiwanese Politician.  Her biography has been translated into 96 different languages on wikipedia.

Tsai Ing-wen (Chinese: 蔡英文; born 31 August 1956) is a Taiwanese politician who served as the 7th president of the Republic of China (Taiwan) from 2016 to 2024, and was the first woman to hold that position. A member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), she intermittently served as chair of the DPP from 2008 to 2012, 2014 to 2018, and 2020 to 2022. Tsai was born and raised in Taipei and studied law and international trade, and later became a law professor at Soochow University School of Law and National Chengchi University after earning an LLB from National Taiwan University and an LLM from Cornell Law School. She later studied law at the London School of Economics and was awarded a PhD. In 1993, as an independent (without party affiliation), she was appointed to a series of governmental positions, including trade negotiator for WTO affairs, by the then ruling party Kuomintang (KMT) and was one of the chief drafters of the special state-to-state relations doctrine under the President Lee Teng-hui. During the first term of Chen Shui-bian's presidency, Tsai served as Minister of the Mainland Affairs Council. She joined the DPP in 2004 and served briefly as a DPP-nominated at-large member of the Legislative Yuan, and was then appointed as Vice Premier under Premier Su Tseng-chang until the cabinet's mass resignation in 2007. Following the DPP's defeat in the presidential election in 2008, she was elected as party chair of the DPP, but she resigned when the party lost the presidential election in 2012. Tsai ran for New Taipei City mayorship in the 2010 municipal elections but was defeated by the KMT candidate, Eric Chu. In April 2011, Tsai became the first woman to be nominated by a major party as a presidential candidate in the history of Taiwan after defeating her former superior, Su Tseng-chang, in the DPP's primary election by a slight margin. In the 2012 Taiwanese presidential election, she was defeated by the then-president Ma Ying-jeou, but she won her first term of presidency in the 2016 presidential election by a landslide in a rematch against Eric Chu. In the 2020 presidential election, she was re-elected as president after winning the election against Han Kuo-yu. Her presidency is succeeded by Lai Ching-te of the DPP on 20 May 2024. Tsai is the second president from the DPP, and also the first popularly elected president to have never served as the Mayor of Taipei. Tsai was named one of Time's most influential people of 2020 and was ranked ninth on Forbes's most powerful women in 2021, being the second-highest ranking female politician after Kamala Harris (who placed second in the list, behind philanthropist MacKenzie Scott). Internationally, Tsai has been praised for her response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and for standing up to pressure from the People's Republic of China. Tsai resigned as head of the Democratic People's Party (DPP) in November 2022, citing her party's poor performance in local elections earlier that month.

Photo of Lee Teng-hui

2. Lee Teng-hui (1923 - 2020)

With an HPI of 65.04, Lee Teng-hui is the 2nd most famous Taiwanese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 48 different languages.

Lee Teng-hui (Chinese: 李登輝; 15 January 1923 – 30 July 2020) was a Taiwanese statesman and agriculturist who served as the 4th president of the Republic of China (Taiwan) under the 1947 Constitution and chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT) from 1988 to 2000. He was the first president to be born in Taiwan, the last to be indirectly elected and the first to be directly elected. During his presidency, Lee oversaw the end of martial law and the full democratization of the ROC, advocated the Taiwanese localization movement, and led an ambitious foreign policy agenda to gain allies around the world. Nicknamed "Mr. Democracy", Lee was credited as the president who completed Taiwan's democratic transition. After leaving office, he remained active in Taiwanese politics. Lee was considered the "spiritual leader" of the pro-independence Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), and recruited for the party in the past. After Lee campaigned for TSU candidates in the 2001 Taiwanese legislative election, he was expelled by the KMT. Other activities that Lee engaged in included maintaining relations with former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian and Japan.

Photo of William Lai

3. William Lai (b. 1959)

With an HPI of 61.16, William Lai is the 3rd most famous Taiwanese Politician.  Her biography has been translated into 45 different languages.

Lai Ching-te (Chinese: 賴清德; born 6 October 1959), also known as William Lai, is a Taiwanese politician and former physician who is currently serving as the 8th President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) since May 2024. He is the third member from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to assume the office of president. He is also the third incumbent vice president to succeed to the presidency, and the first of which to assume the office through election instead of immediate succession. He has also served as the chair of the DPP since 2023. Born to a working-class coal mining family in Taipei County, Lai studied rehabilitation and public health at universities in Taipei, ultimately obtaining a Master's degree from Harvard University in 2003. After serving as the president of the National Physician Support Association, Lai ran in the 1996 Legislative Yuan election, winning a seat representing Tainan City. After being re-elected to the Legislative Yuan four consecutive times, Lai ran for Mayor of Tainan in 2010. Lai won and served as mayor for seven years, winning reelection in 2014. In September 2017, President Tsai Ing-wen announced Lai would replace outgoing premier Lin Chuan. On 24 November 2018, Lai announced his intention to resign from the premiership after the Democratic Progressive Party suffered a major defeat in local elections, and left office on 14 January 2019 after the swearing-in of his successor Su Tseng-chang. Lai mounted a challenge against Tsai in the 2019 Democratic Progressive Party presidential primary and after defeat, served as Tsai's running mate in the 2020 Taiwan presidential election in which the tandem was victorious. In April 2023, Lai was nominated by the DPP as their presidential candidate for the 2024 presidential election and was elected with 40.05% of votes. He took office as President on 20 May 2024. Describing himself as a "pragmatic worker for Taiwanese independence", as he believes that it was possible to "love Taiwan while having an affinity to China", and considers both titles of "Taiwan" or "Republic of China" that can be used equitably and interchangeably in respect of the country name. Lai favors preserving the current status quo in regards to the political status of Taiwan, arguing that it is already an independent state under the name "Republic of China" that is not subordinate to the People's Republic of China (PRC), as well as strengthening relations with the United States and other liberal democracies.

Photo of Chen Shui-bian

4. Chen Shui-bian (b. 1950)

With an HPI of 59.89, Chen Shui-bian is the 4th most famous Taiwanese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 51 different languages.

Chen Shui-bian (Chinese: 陳水扁; born 12 October 1950) is a Taiwanese former politician and lawyer who served as the 5th president of the Republic of China (Taiwan) from 2000 to 2008. Chen was the first president from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) which ended the Kuomintang's (KMT) 55 years of continuous rule in Taiwan. He is sometimes referred to by the nickname A-Bian (阿扁). A lawyer, Chen entered politics in 1980 during the Kaohsiung Incident as a member of the Tangwai movement and was elected to the Taipei City Council in 1981. He was jailed in 1985 for libel as the editor of the weekly pro-democracy magazine Neo-Formosa, following publication of an article critical of Elmer Fung, a college philosophy professor who was later elected a New Party legislator. After being released, Chen helped found the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in 1986 and was elected a member of the Legislative Yuan in 1989, and Mayor of Taipei in 1994. Chen won the 2000 presidential election on 18 March with 39% of the vote as a result of a split of factions within the Kuomintang, when James Soong ran for the presidency as an independent against the party nominee Lien Chan, becoming the first non-member of the Kuomintang to hold the office of president. Although Chen received high approval ratings during the first few weeks of his term, his popularity sharply dropped due to alleged corruption within his administration and the inability to pass legislation against the opposition KMT, who controlled the Legislative Yuan. In 2004, he won reelection by a narrow margin after surviving a shooting while campaigning the day before the election. Opponents suspected him of staging the incident for political purposes. However, the case was officially closed in 2005 with all evidence pointing to a single deceased suspect, Chen Yi-hsiung. In 2009, Chen and his wife Wu Shu-chen were convicted on two bribery charges. Chen was sentenced to 19 years in Taipei Prison, reduced from a life sentence on appeal, but was granted medical parole on 5 January 2015. Chen's supporters have claimed that his trial and sentencing were politically motivated retribution by the Kuomintang for his years in power.

Photo of Chen Chien-jen

5. Chen Chien-jen (b. 1951)

With an HPI of 56.56, Chen Chien-jen is the 5th most famous Taiwanese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 24 different languages.

Chen Chien-jen OS KSG KHS (Chinese: 陳建仁; Wade–Giles: Chen2 Chien4-jen2, born 6 June 1951) is a Taiwanese epidemiologist and politician who served as Vice President of Taiwan from 2016 to 2020 and premier of Taiwan (officially Republic of China) from 2023 to 2024 under President Tsai Ing-wen. He joined the Chen Shui-bian presidential administration in 2003 as leader of the Department of Health, serving through 2005. He later headed the National Science Council between 2006 and 2008. Chen then served as a vice president of Academia Sinica from 2011 to 2015. Later that year, Chen joined Tsai Ing-wen on the Democratic Progressive Party presidential ticket and served as Vice President of Taiwan from 2016 to 2020. Chen joined the DPP in 2022 and was appointed premier in January 2023. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of Fu Jen Catholic University before running for the presidential election and served as Fu Jen's Robert J. Ronald Chair Professor after leaving office.

Photo of Zheng Keshuang

6. Zheng Keshuang (1670 - 1707)

With an HPI of 54.76, Zheng Keshuang is the 6th most famous Taiwanese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Zheng Keshuang, Prince of Yanping (Chinese: 鄭克塽; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Tēⁿ Khek-sióng; 13 August 1670 – 22 September 1707), courtesy name Shihong, art name Huitang, was the third and last ruler of the Kingdom of Tungning in Taiwan in the 17th century. He was the second son of Zheng Jing and a grandson of Koxinga (Zheng Chenggong). After surrendering to the Qing dynasty in 1683, he was ennobled as Duke of Hanjun (漢軍公), and lived the rest of his life in Beijing.

Photo of Su Tseng-chang

7. Su Tseng-chang (b. 1947)

With an HPI of 53.50, Su Tseng-chang is the 7th most famous Taiwanese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 30 different languages.

Su Tseng-chang (Chinese: 蘇貞昌; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: So͘ Cheng-chhiong; born 28 July 1948) is a Taiwanese politician who served as premier of the Republic of China (Taiwan) from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2019 to 2023. He was the chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party in 2005 and from 2012 to 2014. Su served as Chief of Staff to President Chen Shui-bian in 2004. He is currently the longest-serving Democratic Progressive premier in history. Su actively campaigned for the DPP presidential nomination in 2008, but finished second to Frank Hsieh. Su eventually teamed with Hsieh as the vice presidential nominee; the DPP lost to the Kuomintang ticket of Ma Ying-jeou and Vincent Siew. Su ran for Taipei City Mayor in November 2010, but lost to the incumbent Hau Lung-pin by a 12-point margin. Su campaigned for the 2012 presidential candidacy of the DPP in 2011, but lost to Tsai Ing-wen by a very narrow margin. Following the loss of Tsai to Ma Ying-jeou, Su was elected to succeed Tsai as DPP chairman in 2012. During the Chen administration, Su, along with politicians Annette Lu, Frank Hsieh and Yu Shyi-kun, are collectively known as the "Big Four of the Democratic Progressive Party". Su is nicknamed the "Lightbulb" or "E Ball" (電火球) and "Go Go Go" (衝衝衝) by the Taiwanese media and DPP voters, a nickname he earned in the 1980s for his charismatic approach to campaigning during election season, in addition to being an affectionate reference to the balding Su.

Photo of Hou Yu-ih

8. Hou Yu-ih (b. 1956)

With an HPI of 52.43, Hou Yu-ih is the 8th most famous Taiwanese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Hou Yu-ih (Chinese: 侯友宜; pinyin: Hóu Yǒuyí; born 6 June 1956) is a Taiwanese politician and former police officer. He has been the incumbent mayor of New Taipei since 25 December 2018. Previously, he served as Director-General of the National Police Agency from 2006 to 2008 and as acting mayor of New Taipei City from October 2015 to January 2016. He was the Kuomintang's official candidate for the 2024 Taiwanese presidential elections. He first joined the party during the leadership of Chiang Kai-shek.

Photo of Ko Wen-je

9. Ko Wen-je (b. 1960)

With an HPI of 51.43, Ko Wen-je is the 9th most famous Taiwanese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Ko Wen-je (Chinese: 柯文哲; pinyin: Kē Wénzhé; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Koa Bûn-tiat; born 6 August 1960; also known by his nickname, Ko P (Chinese: 柯P; pinyin: Kē Pī; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Koa Phi)) is a Taiwanese politician and physician who served as the mayor of Taipei from 2014 to 2022. He has been the chairman of the Taiwan People's Party (TPP) since founding it in 2019. Before becoming mayor, he was a doctor at National Taiwan University Hospital. He was also a professor at National Taiwan University College of Medicine, and specialized in fields including trauma, intensive care, organ transplant, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), and artificial organs. Due to his profession, he has been nicknamed Ko P or KP (which stands for Professor Ko, and is how he is customarily referred to within National Taiwan University). Ko was responsible for standardizing organ transplant procedures in Taiwan, and was the first physician to bring ECMO to Taiwan. Apart from his practice, Ko is known for his numerous media appearances and interviews as a social and political commentator. In the 2014 Taipei Mayoral Election, Ko ran as an independent candidate. He beat Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Pasuya Yao in the unofficial primary, gaining support from the DPP and Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU). Ko won the election with 853,983 votes, becoming the first physician mayor of the city since the introduction of direct election to the office. Ko was the official presidential nominee of the TPP for the 2024 Taiwanese presidential election. He presented his campaign as a “third way” between DPP and Kuomintang (KMT), the two parties that have traditionally dominated Taiwan's political landscape.

Photo of Annette Lu

10. Annette Lu (b. 1944)

With an HPI of 51.36, Annette Lu is the 10th most famous Taiwanese Politician.  Her biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Annette Lu Hsiu-lien (Chinese: 呂秀蓮; pinyin: Lǚ Xiùlián; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Lū Siù-liân; born 7 June 1944) is a Taiwanese politician. A feminist active in the tangwai movement, she joined the Democratic Progressive Party in 1990, and was elected to the Legislative Yuan in 1992. Subsequently, she served as Taoyuan County Magistrate between 1997 and 2000, and was the Vice President of the Republic of China from 2000 to 2008, under President Chen Shui-bian. Lu announced her intentions to run for the presidency on 6 March 2007, but withdrew to support eventual DPP nominee Frank Hsieh. Lu ran again in 2012, but withdrew for a second time, ceding the nomination to DPP chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen. She lost the party's Taipei mayoral nomination to Pasuya Yao in 2018, and stated that she would leave the party. However, by the time Lu announced in September 2019 that she would contest the 2020 presidential election on behalf of the Formosa Alliance, she was still a member of the Democratic Progressive Party.

People

Pantheon has 22 people classified as Taiwanese politicians born between 1670 and 1989. Of these 22, 20 (90.91%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living Taiwanese politicians include Tsai Ing-wen, William Lai, and Chen Shui-bian. The most famous deceased Taiwanese politicians include Lee Teng-hui, and Zheng Keshuang. As of April 2024, 5 new Taiwanese politicians have been added to Pantheon including Hou Yu-ih, Ko Wen-je, and You Si-kun.

Living Taiwanese Politicians

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Deceased Taiwanese Politicians

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Newly Added Taiwanese Politicians (2024)

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