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Taiwanese Prez Tsai Ing-Wen Resigns As Party Chief After Poor Performance In Local Elections

Local council and city mayor elections are theoretically domestic in nature, covering issues such as crime, housing and social welfare, and those elected will not have a direct say in Taiwan's China policy

Photo Credit : Reuters

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Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen resigned on Saturday as leader of the ruling Democratic People's Party (DPP) following the party's poor performance in local elections.

In the election, the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) won several major races, including the capital Taipei.

The vote has sparked global interest as Taiwan becomes a more prominent geopolitical flashpoint between China and the United States.

In the midst of rising tensions with China, President Tsai framed the election as a vote for democracy.

“The election results did not go as planned... I should accept full responsibility and resign as DPP chairwoman immediately,” Tsai said. However, she will remain president of the self-governing island, Taiwan. 

Local council and city mayor elections are theoretically domestic in nature, covering issues such as crime, housing and social welfare, and those elected will not have a direct say in Taiwan's China policy.

Tsai and government officials, on the other hand, urged voters to use the election to send a message about standing up for democracy as Beijing puts more pressure on the island.

In a referendum held concurrently with the local elections, voters also rejected lowering the voting age from 20 to 18.

The Chinese government regards Taiwan as a breakaway province that will eventually become a part of China.

However, many Taiwanese people regard their self-ruled island as distinct, with its own form of government and democratic system.

Tensions peaked in August when China staged massive military drills around Taiwan in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to the island.

The United States has long walked a fine line with Taiwan. It has no formal ties with Taiwan, but it has pledged to supply the island with defensive weapons and has said that any attack by China would cause “grave concern.”

Political parties in Taiwan

Taiwan has two major political parties, each with its own approach to China. The Kuomintang (KMT), a conservative business champion party, has traditionally been regarded as pro-China doves.

They have advocated for economic engagement with China and appear to be in favour of unification, despite their strong denials of being pro-China.

Tsai's ruling Democratic People's Party is their main rival (DPP) who easily won the 2020 national election.

She has taken a firm stance toward China, saying that Beijing must show Taiwan respect and that Taipei will not yield to pressure.

She was re-elected on the promise of defying Beijing. Protests in Hong Kong and Beijing's subsequent crackdown on civil rights had raised concerns in Taiwan.


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