Following major losses during the 2018 Taiwanese local elections, Tsai Ing-wen resigned from her party's chairmanship and was challenged in the primary contest by former Premier William Lai, himself a former Tsai appointee. The Kuomintang also ran a competitive primary, which saw Han Kuo-yu, initially reluctant to run, defeat former presidential candidate and New Taipei mayor Eric Chu, and Foxconn chief executive Terry Gou.
Both domestic issues and Cross-Strait relations featured in the campaign, with Han attacking Tsai for her perceived failures in labour reform, economic management, and dealing with corruption of her aides. However, Tsai's strong response to Beijing's increasing pressures on Taiwan to accede to a unification agreement, amid the backdrop of the intensely followed Hong Kong anti-extradition protests, proved crucial in her recapturing broad support.
The election had a turnout of 74.9%, the highest among nationwide elections since 2008. Tsai won a record 8.17 million votes, representing 57.1% of the popular vote, the highest vote share won by a DPP candidate in presidential elections. The DPP received a higher share of the vote in major metropolitan areas, reversing the KMT's fortunes in Kaohsiung and environs, while the Kuomintang retained strength in limited eastern regions and off-island constituencies. Tsai is scheduled to be re-inaugurated on 20 May 2020.
Under applicable legislation, any party which received more than five per cent of the total vote share in the latest election in any level were eligible to contest the election. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Kuomintang (KMT), New Power Party (NPP) and People First Party (PFP) were eligible, though in the end only three major-party candidates were certified: incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party, Kaohsiung mayor Han Kuo-yu of Kuomintang, and perennial veteran candidate James Soong of the People First Party. Vice President Chen Chien-jen, Tsai's running mate in 2016, was eligible for re-election but chose not to contest.