WASHINGTON – For Washington-based U.S. analysts, Saturday’s Taiwan elections were a threefold victory, for President Tsai Ing-wen and her ruling Democratic Progressive Party, Taiwan as a whole, and the very concept of democracy in Asia.
“There’s this debate, which I always thought was a dishonest debate” about whether democracy as a form of governance is suited to Asian history and culture, Derek Mitchell, president of the National Democratic Institute, said.
He referenced Lee Kuan Yew, who ruled Singapore with a firm hand for three decades until 1990.“
“Lee Kuan Yew once said that we Asians, democracy isn’t right for our culture,” Mitchell said at a Saturday morning function sponsored by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S. and two think tanks focused on Taiwan and China studies.
But, he told VOA, the successful conduct of Saturday’s presidential and legislative elections was a testament to the fact that democracy is a universal value that can work just as well in Asia as in other parts of the world.