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.
With an HPI of 74.60, Tsai Ing-wen is the most famous Taiwanese Politician. Her biography has been translated into 85 different languages on wikipedia.
Tsai Ing-wen (born 31 August 1956) is a Taiwanese politician and academic serving as the seventh 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 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 Kuomintang (KMT) and was one of the chief drafters of the special state-to-state relations doctrine of President Lee Teng-hui. After DPP President Chen Shui-bian took office in 2000, Tsai served as Minister of the Mainland Affairs Council throughout Chen's first term as a non-partisan. She joined the DPP in 2004 and served briefly as a DPP-nominated at-large member of the Legislative Yuan. From there, she was appointed Vice Premier under Premier Su Tseng-chang until the cabinet's mass resignation in 2007. She was elected and assumed DPP leadership in 2008, following her party's defeat in the 2008 presidential election. She resigned as chair after losing the 2012 presidential election. Tsai ran for New Taipei City mayorship in the November 2010 municipal elections but was defeated by another former vice premier, Eric Chu (KMT). In April 2011, Tsai became the first female presidential candidate of a major party in the history of the Republic of China after defeating her former superior, Su Tseng-chang, in the DPP's primary by a slight margin. She was defeated by incumbent Kuomintang candidate Ma Ying-jeou in the 5th direct presidential election in 2012, but was elected by a landslide four years later in the sixth direct presidential election in 2016. Tsai is the second President from the Democratic Progressive Party. She is the first President to have never held an elected executive post before serving as President and the first to be popularly elected without having previously served as the Mayor of Taipei. Tsai was re-elected as President with an increased share of the vote in the 2020 presidential election.Tsai is included in Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2020.
With an HPI of 74.38, Lee Teng-hui is the 2nd most famous Taiwanese Politician. His biography has been translated into 46 different languages.
Lee Teng-hui (Chinese: 李登輝; 15 January 1923 – 30 July 2020) was a Taiwanese statesman and economist who was the fourth 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 initiated 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 KMT. Other activities that Lee engaged in included maintaining relations with former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian and Japan.
With an HPI of 67.81, Chen Shui-bian is the 3rd most famous Taiwanese Politician. His biography has been translated into 49 different languages.
Chen Shui-bian (Chinese: 陳水扁; born 12 October 1950) is a retired Taiwanese politician and lawyer who served as the fifth president of the Republic of China (Taiwan) from 2000 to 2008. Chen is 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 Kuomintang 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. Since then, Chen has been de facto released, but he is still prohibited from public speaking under the guise of "undergoing medical treatment." Chen's supporters have claimed that his trial and sentencing was politically motivated retribution by the Kuomintang for his years in power.
With an HPI of 64.78, Zheng Keshuang is the 4th most famous Taiwanese Politician. His biography has been translated into 16 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 Hanjun, and lived the rest of his life in Beijing.
With an HPI of 64.45, Su Tseng-chang is the 5th most famous Taiwanese Politician. His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.
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 leads the second-largest faction in the DPP, after New Tide faction. 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. 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.
With an HPI of 61.65, Chen Chien-jen is the 6th 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 and former politician. 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 served one term as Vice President of the Republic of China, from 2016 to 2020. 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.
With an HPI of 59.74, Wu Den-yih is the 7th most famous Taiwanese Politician. His biography has been translated into 22 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.
With an HPI of 59.70, Han Kuo-yu is the 8th most famous Taiwanese Politician. His biography has been translated into 16 different languages.
Han Kuo-yu (Chinese: 韓國瑜; pinyin: Hán Guóyú; Wade–Giles: Han² Kuo²-yü²; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Hân Kok-jû; born 17 June 1957; also known as Daniel Han) is a Taiwanese politician. He was a member of the Legislative Yuan from 1993 to 2002, representing a portion of Taipei County for three terms. He later became general manager of Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Corporation. In 2017, Han contested the Kuomintang chairmanship, losing to Wu Den-yih. Han was elected Mayor of Kaohsiung in November 2018, and became the first Kuomintang politician since Wu in 1998 to hold the office. He was the KMT candidate for the 2020 Taiwanese presidential election, but lost to Tsai Ing-wen. On 6 June 2020, Han was successfully recalled from his position as mayor and officially stepped down on 12 June.
With an HPI of 59.14, Frank Hsieh is the 9th most famous Taiwanese Politician. His biography has been translated into 16 different languages.
Frank Hsieh (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.
With an HPI of 59.11, Annette Lu is the 10th 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.
Pantheon has 15 people classified as politicians born between 1670 and 1961. Of these 15, 13 (86.67%) 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 October 2020, 2 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Han Kuo-yu and Sean Chen.
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