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The Most Famous

POLITICIANS from Taiwan

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This page contains a list of the greatest Taiwanese Politicians. The pantheon dataset contains 15,577 Politicians, 19 of which were born in Taiwan. This makes Taiwan the birth place of the 104th most number of Politicians behind Honduras and Panama.

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 (1956 - )

With an HPI of 66.97, Tsai Ing-wen is the most famous Taiwanese Politician.  Her biography has been translated into 90 different languages on wikipedia.

Tsai Ing-wen (Chinese: 蔡英文; pinyin: Cài Yīngwén; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Chhòa Eng-bûn; born 31 August 1956) is a Taiwanese politician serving as President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) since 2016. A member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Tsai is the first female president of Taiwan. She has served as chair of the DPP since 2020, and previously from 2008 to 2012 and 2014 to 2018.Tsai grew up 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 Political Science, with her thesis titled "Unfair trade practices and safeguard actions", and was awarded a Ph.D. in law from the University of London. 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 female 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 by a slight margin. In the fifth presidential election in 2012, 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 the 2020 election, she was re-elected as president with an increased share of the vote. Tsai is the second president from the Democratic Progressive Party, and the first popularly elected president to have never served as Mayor of Taipei. Tsai was named one of Time's most influential people of 2020 and was #9 on Forbes's most powerful women and #2 female politician after Kamala Harris of 2021. Internationally, Tsai has been praised for her response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and for standing up to pressure from Beijing.

Photo of Lee Teng-hui

2. Lee Teng-hui (1923 - 2020)

With an HPI of 63.67, Lee Teng-hui is the 2nd most famous Taiwanese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 47 different languages.

Lee Teng-hui (Chinese: 李登輝; 15 January 1923 – 30 July 2020) was a Taiwanese statesman and economist who served as 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 to gain allies around the world. Nicknamed "Mr. Democracy", Lee was credited as the president who completed Taiwan's transition to the democratic era. 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 Chen Shui-bian

3. Chen Shui-bian (1950 - )

With an HPI of 57.88, Chen Shui-bian is the 3rd 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 retired Taiwanese politician and lawyer who served as the 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 colloquially referred to as 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 March 18 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 January 5, 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 Su Tseng-chang

4. Su Tseng-chang (1947 - )

With an HPI of 56.02, Su Tseng-chang is the 4th most famous Taiwanese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

Hope Su Tseng-chang (Chinese: 蘇貞昌; born 28 July 1947) is a Taiwanese politician serving as premier of the Republic of China (Taiwan) since 2019, and previously from 2006 to 2007. 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" (電火球) 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 Zheng Keshuang

5. Zheng Keshuang (1670 - 1707)

With an HPI of 53.11, Zheng Keshuang is the 5th most famous Taiwanese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 17 different languages.

Zheng Keshuang, Prince of Yanping (Chinese: 鄭克塽; 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, and lived the rest of his life in Beijing.

Photo of Frank Hsieh

6. Frank Hsieh (1946 - )

With an HPI of 48.02, Frank Hsieh is the 6th most famous Taiwanese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Frank Hsieh Chang-ting (Chinese: 謝長廷; pinyin: Xiè Chángtíng; Wade–Giles: Hsieh⁴ Chʻang²-tʻing²; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Siā Tiông-têng / Chiā Tiông-têng; born May 18, 1946) is a Taiwanese politician and former defense attorney. A cofounder of the Democratic Progressive Party, he has served on the Taipei City Council, the Legislative Yuan, as the mayor of Kaohsiung City, and as the Premier of the Republic of China under president Chen Shui-bian. Hsieh was the DPP nominee in the 2008 presidential election and was defeated by Ma Ying-jeou. Hsieh is currently the head of the Association of Taiwan-Japan Relations.

Photo of Wu Den-yih

7. Wu Den-yih (1948 - )

With an HPI of 47.64, Wu Den-yih is the 7th most famous Taiwanese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 24 different languages.

Wu Den-yih (born 30 January 1948) is a Taiwanese politician. He graduated from National Taiwan University and worked as a journalist before beginning a career in politics with a 1973 appointment to the Taipei City Council. Wu was then elected Magistrate of Nantou County, serving from 1981 to 1989. Following two terms as magistrate, he was named Mayor of Kaohsiung in 1990. Wu remained mayor until 1998, having won the office in a 1994 direct election. He then served two full terms in the Legislative Yuan from 2002 to 2008. Shortly after winning a third term in the legislature, Wu was named Premier of the Republic of China in 2009. He served until 2012, when he and Ma Ying-jeou formed the Kuomintang (KMT) presidential ticket. Wu served one four-year term as Vice President of the Republic of China, stepping down in 2016. In May 2017, he was elected party chairman. Wu stepped down from the position in January 2020. Previously, Wu had served the KMT as secretary-general from 2007 to 2009, first vice chairman in 2014, and as acting chairman in 2014 and 2015.

Photo of Annette Lu

8. Annette Lu (1944 - )

With an HPI of 47.56, Annette Lu is the 8th most famous Taiwanese Politician.  Her biography has been translated into 16 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.

Photo of William Lai

9. William Lai (1959 - )

With an HPI of 47.05, William Lai is the 9th most famous Taiwanese Politician.  Her biography has been translated into 22 different languages.

William Lai Ching-te (Chinese: 賴淸德; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Loā Chheng-tek; born 6 October 1959) is a Taiwanese politician who has been the Vice President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) since 2020. He served as a legislator in the Legislative Yuan from 1999 to 2010, and as Mayor of Tainan from 2010 to 2017, prior to taking office as premier of the Republic of China.On 24 November 2018, he 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 the running mate of President Tsai Ing-wen in the 2020 Taiwan presidential election in which the tandem was victorious.

Photo of Chen Chien-jen

10. Chen Chien-jen (1951 - )

With an HPI of 46.68, Chen Chien-jen is the 10th most famous Taiwanese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Chen Chien-jen OS KSG KHS (Chinese: 陳建仁, born 6 June 1951) is a Taiwanese epidemiologist who served as the Vice President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) from 2016 to 2020. 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.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.

Pantheon has 19 people classified as politicians born between 1670 and 1997. Of these 19, 17 (89.47%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Tsai Ing-wen, Chen Shui-bian, and Su Tseng-chang. The most famous deceased politicians include Lee Teng-hui and Zheng Keshuang. As of April 2022, 4 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Yang Yung-wei, Yani Tseng, and Lee Yang.

Living Politicians

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Deceased Politicians

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Newly Added Politicians (2022)

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