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Professor, Department of Public Policy and Management, Shih Hsin University. E-mail:
jwj@mail.shu.edu.tw

Associate Professor, Center of Holistic Education, Mackay Medical College. E-mail:
zhang@mmc.edu.tw(corresponding author)

Assistant Professor, Department of International Business, Tamkang University. E-mail:
134660@mail.tku.edu.tw
The Phenomenon and Interpretation of Removal of the Party Labels: Evidence from the 2018 Local Elections in Taiwan
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Political parties enlist voter support from electoral mobilization. It not only helps the party’s candidate win the election but also cultivates political talents and builds the party’s strength for sustainable development. In the election of local public officials in 2018, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led to social controversy due to the implementation of a few reform policies in the central government, which led to a significant reduction in the seats of mayors and county magistratesand a decline in the share of votes. On the contrary, the Kuomintang (KMT) benefited from the atmosphere of “Dislike DPP,” and the “Han Wave (韓流)” originated in Kaohsiung city, which made a huge gain in the mayor and county magistrate elections and got higher vote shares. From the perspective of party politics, beneath the surface of one party’s gain and another party’s loss in the local-level elections, one topic that deserves attention is whether the political power of the political parties in local politics has changed after Taiwan has experienced three times party alternations? And from the perspective of the analysis of the aggregate data, what is the political meaning of the topic of removing the party label in the local election?

This study mainly took the 2018 local public officers’ elections in Taiwan as an example. We collects the data of the local elections in the past 10 years and cross-checks the results of the national referendum held at the same time as the 2018 election. The methods which are used in this study to examine difference and correlation of votes gained by the DPP, KMT, and independent candidates in various levels of local elections included descriptive statistics, data visualization, analysis of (partial) correlation, ecological regression, and principal component analysis. The findings including: (1) the phenomenon of de-labeling of political parties in the lower-level elections is more obvious in local elections, especially the KMT label; (2) while the party label will still reduce the votes of independent candidates, but the party label may also be hidden in the election; (3) the voter’s attitude towards referendum issues can assist in judging their political affiliation and establishing an “alternative”political map; (4) in addition to mayoral elections, the more support the KMT’s position, the less vote for independent candidates.