The year began inauspiciously in Taiwan with the death in January of President Chiang Ching-kuo. The succession by Vice President Lee Teng-hui went smoothly, however, and the new leader continued his predecessor's policies of liberalizing and democratizing Taiwan's ossified political system, opening to the China mainland, and formulating a flexible foreign policy. Lee also succeeded Chiang as chairman of the ruling Kuomintang party at the Thirteenth Party Congress in July, and he oversaw the emergence of younger, reform-minded leaders in both the party and the state. Lacking a power base of his own, Lee had to balance the interests of the military and security forces, the technocracy, aging mainlander officials, impatient Taiwanese politicians, and newly mobilized social and political forces that tested the limits of Taiwan's democratization in a continuous barrage of strikes and demonstrations.