The President of the Republic of China (中華民國總統) is the head of state of the Republic of China, the government which administered Mainland China from 1912 to 1949 and has administered Taiwan and several outlying islands from 1945 until the present. The President of the ROC is now commonly referred to as -- technically incorrect -- the "President of Taiwan" (台灣總統).
The President is currently selected by a first past the post direct election of the areas administered by the Republic of China (i.e., Taiwan province, and Kinmen and Lienchiang counties of Fujian province) for a term of four years. Before 1991, the President was selected by the National Assembly of the Republic of China for a term of seven years.
Until the 1980s power in the Republic of China was personalized rather than institutionalized which meant that the power of the President depended largely on who occupied the office. For example, during the tenure of Yen Chia-kan, the office was largely ceremonial with real power in the hands of the Premier of the Republic of China, Chiang Ching-Kuo, and power shifted back to the presidency when Chiang became President.
After 2000, and the election of Chen Shui-bian to the Presidency, the Presidency and the Legislative Yuan were controlled by different parties which brought forth a number of latent constitutional issues such as the role of the legislature in appointing and dismissing a Premier, the right of the President to call a special session of the legislature, and who has the power to call a referendum. Most of these issues have been resolved through inter-party negotiations.
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|Sun Yat-Sen||KMT||1912||1913||Provisional government|
|Yuan Shikai||1913||1915||Declared himself Emperor in 1915, d. 1916|
|Warlord Government in Beijing¹|
|Rival Government in Guangzhou|
|Chairman of National Government (Chinese Civil War)²|
|Constitution of 1947|
|Lee Teng-hui||KMT||1988||2000||First Popular Election (1996)|
|(1) Warlord government and Yuan Shikai government after the 1913 Second revolution are regarded as illegitimate by the ROC.|
|(2) Chiang Kai-shek assumed role of "Commander-in-chief" from 1925-1928.|
|(3) Li Tsung-jen assumed role of "Acting President" following Chiang Kai-shek's resignation in January 1949, but Chiang reassumed presidency after the retreat to Taiwan in December 1949.|