William Lai

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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Lai.
William Lai
Lai Ching-te
William Lai in November 2010
1st Mayor of Tainan
Assumed office
25 December 2010
Deputy Hsu He-chun[1]
Preceded by Hsu Tain-tsair as Mayor of Tainan (Provincial city)
Member of the Legislative Yuan
In office
1 February 1999 – 25 December 2010
Succeeded by Huang Wei-cher
Constituency Tainan 2
Personal details
Born (1959-10-06) October 6, 1959 (age 56)
Wanli, Taipei County (now New Taipei City), Taiwan
Nationality Taiwan
Political party Democratic Progressive Party
Alma mater National Taiwan University
National Cheng Kung University
Harvard University
Profession Medical doctor
Website www.laichingte.net
William Lai
Traditional Chinese 賴清德
Simplified Chinese 赖清德

William Lai, also known by his romanised name Lai Ching-te,[2] is a Taiwanese politician and the incumbent mayor of Tainan. He took office on 25 December 2010, after the municipality was created from the merger of Tainan City and Tainan County. He served as a legislator in the Legislative Yuan from 1999 to 2010.

Pre-political life[edit]

Born in Wanli, a rural coastal town in northern Taipei County (now New Taipei City) on October 6, 1959, Lai underwent schooling in Taipei City and studied at both National Cheng Kung University in Tainan and National Taiwan University in Taipei, where he specialized in rehabilitation.[2] Lai then studied at the Harvard School of Public Health for a Masters degree in public health,[2] followed by an internship at National Cheng Kung University Hospital. He became an expert on spinal cord damage and served as a national consultant for such injuries.[2]

National Assembly and Legislative Yuan[edit]

After serving as part of the support team for Chen Ding-nan's unsuccessful electoral bid for Governor of Taiwan Province in 1994,[3] Lai decided to enter politics himself. The next opportunity for election to a national body was the 1996 National Assembly, with Lai winning a seat representing Tainan City. Lai then joined the New Tide faction and stood as a candidate in the 1998 Legislative Yuan election, representing the Democratic Progressive Party in the second ward of Tainan City.[4][2] He was successful in this election, and subsequently was reelected three times in 2001, 2004, and 2008. In total he served 11 years as a legislator, and was selected as Taiwan's "Best Legislator" four times in a row by Taipei-based NGO Citizen Congress Watch.[5]

Mayor of Tainan[edit]

2010 municipal election[edit]

With the 2010 reorganization of the municipalities in Taiwan, Tainan City and Tainan County were amalgamated into a single municipality, called Tainan. After successfully being selected in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) primaries in January 2010,[6] Lai stood as the DPP candidate for the mayoral election on 27 November 2010, gaining 60.41% to defeat Kuomintang candidate Kuo Tien-tsai.[7] He took office on 25 December 2010.

2010 Tainan City Mayoral Election Result
Party # Candidate Votes Percentage
Emblem of the Kuomintang.svg Kuomintang 1 Kuo Tien-tsai (郭添財) 406,196 39.59%
Green Taiwan in White Cross.svg Democratic Progressive Party 2 William Lai 619,897 60.41% Vote1.png
Total 1,026,093 100.00%

As a result of his strong showing in the mayoral election coupled with his relative youth and his control of the DPP heartland city of Tainan, Lai is considered to be a potential candidate for a presidential run in 2016.[8] In 2013 an opinion poll ranked Lai as the most popular of the 22 city and county heads in Taiwan, with an approval rating of 87%.[9]

2014 municipal election[edit]

Lai stood for reelection on 29 November 2014 against Huang Hsiu-shuang of the Kuomintang. His opponent was considered to have such an uphill task in the DPP stronghold that she rode a black horse through the streets of Tainan as an election stunt; a hopeful allusion to her status as a "dark horse".[10] Lai, on the other hand, did not plan many campaign activities, choosing to focus on mayoral duties.[11] He eventually won the election by 45 percentage points,[12] the largest margin of victory in any of the municipal races in the election.[13]

2014 Tainan City Mayoral Election Result
No. Candidate Party Votes Percentage
1 William Lai Green Taiwan in White Cross.svg DPP 711,557 72.90%
2 Huang Hsiu-shuang (黃秀霜) Emblem of the Kuomintang.svg KMT 264,536 27.10%


  1. ^ http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2014/02/14/2003583484
  2. ^ a b c d e 賴清德 (in Chinese). Legislative Yuan. 
  3. ^ 陳定南的牽手張昭義挺賴清德 (in Chinese), NOWnews 
  4. ^ Wang, Chris (11 December 2013). "DPP [d]riven by factionalism as primary polls heat up". Taipei Times. Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  5. ^ Lai keeps DPP's solid grip on Tainan, Central News Agency 
  6. ^ 2009民進黨提名縣市長候選人連結 (in Chinese). Democratic Progressive Party. 2010-09-17. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  7. ^ William Lai takes Tainan by storm, Taipei Times, 28 November 2010 
  8. ^ A look ahead at Taiwan's 2016 presidential hopefuls, The China Post, 2012-01-16 
  9. ^ Tainan City's Lai tops satisfaction poll, Taiwan News, 2013-07-19, retrieved 2013-07-09 
  10. ^ Saturday’s elections seen as a litmus test for 2016, The Taipei Times 
  11. ^ Chen, Ted (21 November 2014). "Incumbent Tainan Mayor William Lai hopes to continue improving his city". China Post. Retrieved 21 February 2016. 
  12. ^ Wang, Jung-hsiang; Huang, Wen-huang; Chung, Jake (30 November 2014). "Kaohsiung and Tainan's mayors win re-election". Taipei Times. Retrieved 21 February 2016. 
  13. ^ TAIWAN INSIDER Vol. 1 No. 10, Thinking Taiwan 
Government offices
Preceded by
Hsu Tain-tsair
Mayor of Tainan