Freedom in the World
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Freedom Rating (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Civil Liberties (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Political Rights (1 = best, 7 = worst)
The ruling Kuomintang won three of the five mayoral posts at stake in November 2010 municipal elections, with the opposition Democratic Progressive Party securing the other two. Also in November, the Supreme Court finalized former president Chen Shui-bian’s conviction on bribery charges, sentencing him to 17 and a half years in prison. Separately, the early dismissal of the leadership of the Public Television Service raised concerns about the independence of publicly funded media.
Taiwan is an electoral democracy. The 1946 constitution created a unique government structure comprising five distinct branches (yuan). The president, who is directly elected for up to two four-year terms, wields executive power, appoints the prime minister, and can dissolve the legislature. The Executive Yuan, or cabinet, consists of ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister. The prime minister is responsible to the national legislature (Legislative Yuan), which consists of 113 members serving four-year terms. The three other branches of government are the judiciary (Judicial Yuan), a watchdog body (Control Yuan), and a branch responsible for civil-service examinations (Examination Yuan).