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Taiwan’s president resigns as party leader after election losses : NPR


Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen casts her vote at a polling station in New Taipei City, Taiwan, on Saturday.

Chang Hao-an/AP


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Chang Hao-an/AP


Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen casts her vote at a polling station in New Taipei City, Taiwan, on Saturday.

Chang Hao-an/AP

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has resigned as leader of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party following Saturday’s local election defeat suffered by her party.

Voters in Taiwan overwhelmingly chose the opposition KMT in several major races across the self-ruled island in an election in which concerns linger about threats from China. gave way to more local issues.

Tsai has repeatedly spoken out about “opposing China and defending Taiwan” during his party’s campaign. However, party candidate Chen Shih-chung, who lost his bid for mayor of Taipei, raised the issue of the Communist Party threat only a few times before he quickly returned to the posts. local problem because there is little attention, experts say.

Tsai submitted her resignation on Saturday night, a tradition after a major loss, in a brief speech in which she also thanked supporters.

“I have to shoulder all the responsibilities,” she said. “Faced with an outcome like this, there are many areas that we must consider deeply.”

Elections are likely to revolve around local issues, not China

While international observers and the ruling party have tried to link the elections to the long-term existential threat of Taiwan’s neighbour, many local experts do not think that China – the declare the island as territory to be taken over by force if necessary – there is a big role to play this time around.

Yeh-lih Wang, professor of political science at National Taiwan University, said: “The international community has bet too high. They have raised the local elections to the international level and the survival of the country. Taiwan”.

During the election campaign, there was little mention of the large-scale military exercises aimed at Taiwan that China staged in August in response. US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits.

“So I think if you can’t even raise this issue in Taipei,” Wang said. “You don’t even have to consider it in cities to the south.”

Kuomintang candidates won mayoral seats in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, as well as in Taoyuan, Taichung and New Taipei City.

Taiwanese are choosing mayors, city council members and other local leaders in all 13 counties and nine cities. According to local media, there was also a referendum to lower the voting age from 20 to 18, but this referendum was defeated.

Chiang Wan-an, the new mayor of Taipei, declared victory on Saturday night in a large rally. “I will show the world the greatness of Taipei,” he said.

Not all of the votes had been officially counted at the time he spoke, but the numerical lead of Chiang and the other candidates allowed them to claim victory.

Kao Hung-an, a candidate in the relatively new Taiwan People’s Party, won the mayor seat in Hsinchu, a city home to many of Taiwan’s semiconductor companies.

Campaigns have been resolutely local: air pollution in downtown Taichung, traffic congestion in Taipei’s Nangang tech hub, and the island’s COVID-19 vaccine procurement strategies , which left the island short of supply during last year’s outbreak.

The failure of the ruling DPP can be partly attributed to the way it has handled the pandemic.

“The public is not happy with the DPP on this, even though Taiwan has done relatively well in containing the pandemic,” said Weihao Huang, a professor of political science at National Sun Yat-sen University. .

At an elementary school in New Taipei City, the city that surrounds Taipei, voters from young to old arrived early despite the rain.

Yu Mei-zhu, 60, said she came to vote for incumbent Mayor Hou You-yi. “I think he did a great job, so I want to continue to support him. I believe in him and that he can improve our environment in New Taipei City and infrastructure. our traffic.”

Tsai arrived early Saturday morning to cast her ballot, surprising many voters when security and her entourage flooded the campus.

“If the DPP loses many seats in the county, their ability to govern will be greatly challenged,” said You Ying-lung, president of the Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation, which regularly conducts public surveys on political issues, said.

Mr You said the election results would also in some way reflect the public’s attitude towards the ruling party’s performance over the past two years.

Some feel indifferent to the local race. Sean Tai, 26, an employee at a hardware store, said: “It seems that everyone is almost the same, from a policy standpoint.

Tai declined to say who he voted for, but wanted someone who would enhance Taipei’s status and provide a better economic outlook while maintaining the status quo with China. “We don’t want a total blockade. I really hope that Taiwan can be recognized internationally,” he said.

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