Taiwan President Resigns as Party Head after Election Losses

President Tsai Ing-wen has resigned as head of the ruling party after its members lost a number of seats in Saturday's local elections. Beijing said the results show the Taiwanese people want peace.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen resigned Saturday as leader of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) after her party lost a slew of seats in local elections across the country.

Tsai said in a short speech that she will shoulder the responsibility for the loss of her party because she chose the candidates who ran in local elections.

Taiwanese were picking their mayors, city council members and other local leaders in all 13 counties and in nine cities. There was also a referendum on lowering the voting age from 20 to 18.

Tsai also thanked her supporters in the speech after offering her resignation.

Opposition Nationalist party wins local elections

The Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang (KMT), claimed victory in 13 of the 21 city mayoral and county chief seats up for grabs, including the capital, Taipei.

DW correspondent William Yang said that the sweeping victory of the opposition Nationalist party shows they remain a strong political force at the local level in Taiwan.

Chiang Wan-an, the Nationalist party’s mayoral candidate who won the seat in Taipei, said in his victory speech that he “will let the world see Taipei’s greatness.”

The result also showed that there were limits to a “resist China and defend Taiwan” electoral message that the ruling party ran on, according to Yang.

Both the ruling party and the opposition party have traditionally favored relations with China, but have strongly denied being pro-Beijing.

China-Taiwan relations take a backseat

The Nationalist party, on the other hand, mostly avoided campaigning on issues related to China and focused on domestic topics like air pollution in the central city of Taichung and the island’s strategies for purchasing COVID-19 vaccines.

Tsai had recast the local elections as being more than a local vote, saying the world was watching how Taiwan defends its democracy amid military tensions with China, which views the self-governing island as part of its territory.

The bigger issues of relations between China and Taiwan tend to play a far more prominent role in presidential and national elections, which are next due in 2024.

DW’s William Yang said the 2024 race will be decided by a “very different set of factors.”

During the campaign, there were few mentions of large-scale Chinese military drills earlier in August that were meant to send a stern message to the Taiwanese government for hosting the then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Beijing: Results show Taiwanese want peace

China said the result should that “mainstream public opinion in the island is for peace, stability and a good life.”

Beijing said would continue to work with Taiwan’s people to promote peaceful relations and firmly oppose Taiwan’s independence and foreign interference, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said in a statement carried by the official Xinhua news agency.



Arab Observer

Related Articles

Back to top button